I sat down with Sen. John Thune today to ask him a few questions about his political situation now, with Mitt Romney expected to pick a running mate in the coming weeks and Thune widely rumored to be in the mix.
Thune played things pretty close to the vest, but he did say some interesting things.
I asked him if being a potential vice presidential pick was on his mind, and Thune replied, as he has, that he doesn’t “expect it to happen.”
“It’s nice to be considered for sure, but it’s not something I’ve that given a lot of time to,” Thune continued.
Is that confirmation from the senator that he’s being “considered” by Romney? Or just reference to widespread speculation that he’s on the short list? It wouldn’t be a huge deal if Thune did confirm it — off-the-record sources are pretty much in agreement that Romney is giving Thune at least some consideration — but it could be notable.
I also asked Thune if he were being “vetted” by the Romney team, and here’s what he had to say:
“There’s a process that the campaign has in place. In respect for that, I’d just rather let them (comment),” Thune said. “Those of us whose names are being mentioned in the media are doing our best to direct questions to Gov. Romney’s campaign when it comes to that issue.”
‘Are you being vetted’ is the kind of question that no one answers yes to, but that you can say no to. That is, if you are being vetted, you don’t admit it. If I called up Rep. Kristi Noem and asked if she were being vetted for vice president, I’m pretty sure she’d tell me she wasn’t. So the fact that Thune declined to answer is potentially revealing.
Thune also discussed last month’s Utah retreat with top Romney supporters, donors and surrogates. Thune was one of the attendees there, where he said he was on a panel with Paul Ryan, Meg Whitman and Home Depot founder Ken Langone — moderated by Bobby Jindal.
“It was a good opportunity for a lot of the people who’ve been involved in the Romney organization to get to see each other,” Thune said. “Sometimes you don’t know these people. You have separate events around the country. I thought this was good, because it really energized people.”