With the Republican establishment lining up behind Mitt Romney, and the general-election phase apparently getting underway in earnest, this is about the time we'd expect to see GOP officials signaling their willingness to join Romney's ticket. Virginia Gov. Bob "Mandatory Ultrasound" McDonnell (R), for example, has already talked up his availability, as have Romney's ostensible rivals.
Here's an image we apparently won't see at the Republican convention in Tampa.
It comes as something of a surprise, then, some of the names rumored for the VP short list are already saying they're not interested. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), for example, told ABC she would turn down a spot on Romney's ticket if it were offered.
Despite her stalwart campaigning on [Romney's] behalf, Haley claims she has no interest in being his running mate. If offered the vice presidential slot, Haley said she would not take it.
"I'd say, 'Thank you, but no,'" she said. "I made a promise to the people of this state. And I think that promise matters. And I intend to keep it."
Similarly, Ken Auletta talked to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) about possible vice presidential ambitions. After saying, "Yeah, I'm not going to do it," the senator added:
"I'm not going to be the vice-presidential nominee. If I say I'm not going to be it, obviously I'm not going to accept it."
Told that he hadn't said "I'm not going to accept it" before, Rubio replied, "Well, now you've got it straight for the story." [Update: The interview was originally part of a New Yorker piece that ran earlier this year, not last week.]
In other words, two of the more prominent names on the likely Republican short list have now said, publicly and on the record, that they not only aren't seeking the job, but would turn it down if the position were offered.
These two might very well decide to do the exact opposite if the invitation were no longer hypothetical -- I find it hard to believe Rubio meant what he said to Auletta -- but the comments don't reflect GOP confidence in Romney's chances. Right about now, Republicans should be clamoring to get on the list, not off it.