The Veepstakes Sherm-O-Meter [Updated]

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Potential veeps. Photo: Clockwise from top left: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Jeff Swensen/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In our latest update, Bob McDonnell moves up to the number four spot, Marco Rubio gets downright Shermanesque, and Condi Rice and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin make their debut appearances. 

Mitt Romney may not have a vice-president shortlist yet, but through rumor, guesswork, and sometimes even actual evidence, the political media has already assembled one for him. It contains household names like Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, and less famous politicians such as Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte. Over the course of the next few months, these potential running mates will be bombarded with questions about the prospect of joining Mitt Romney's ticket, and they will respond by performing a rhetorical balancing act for our amusement. Sound too enthusiastic, and you alienate your constituents (assuming you have them) and set yourself up for embarrassment when you're not picked. But sound too disinterested, and why should Romney pick you at all, you jerk? Or, you may honestly not want the gig, in which case an outright Shermanesque refusal would make your intentions perfectly clear.

It is this delicate dance of thinly veiled bullshit that we intend to chronicle until a running mate is finally chosen. By ranking the major veep candidates based on the eagerness of their most recent veepstakes-related remark — on a scale of William Tecumseh Sherman to "That's the Ticket," which is a reference to something Jon Lovitz used to say on SNL a long time ago — we hope to illuminate the majesty and awkwardness that is the veepstakes. 

Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty

  • 1
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum

Senior adviser John Brabender, April 10: "I think that as he has said in the past, he is ready to help America in whatever way he can do best."

Photo: Pool/Getty

  • 2
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

April 17: "I love this job (governor) and I'm not looking to do it (vice president) ... But I also think it is extraordinarily arrogant for you to say you won't even listen to the nominee of your party — especially for me. It's someone who I've been supporting since last October vigorously around the country — that I wouldn't take a call from Mitt Romney ... [If] Mitt Romney calls and wants to discuss it with me, I will sit down and talk with Gov. Romney about it."

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • 3
  • Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan

April 11: "If this bridge ever comes that I should cross it, then I'll think about it then. It's not the time to think about it."

Photo: Kris Connor/Getty

  • 4
  • Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

April 17: "Well I think anybody that gets a call from the nominee and says, you can help our party, you can help our country. Of course you’d consider it, but I’ve got the job built by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry ... That’s all speculation. That’s completely up to Mitt Romney. I’m not looking for, campaigning for it, or expecting it, so we’ll see what happens. You’ll have to ask Governor Romney what he’s planning to do."

Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

  • 5
  • Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

April 17: "I haven’t heard from candidate Mitt Romney on that but it’s certainly a great honor to even be mentioned as a possibility ... Well that is, that is something that we would just have to wait and see."

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

  • 6
  • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

April 15: "I haven't gotten the call and I doubt I will. I just go merrily on about doing my business."

Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

  • 7
  • Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

April 18: "It won't happen, so we won't take the audience's time with it, but I'll be glad to be a number 22 or wherever I can fit in in terms of supporting a winning campaign."

Photo: Melina Mara/WP

  • 8
  • Ohio Senator Rob Portman

April 11: "I want to help. I don't need to be on the ticket to do that."

Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty

  • 9
  • Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey

March 23: "I think that's so extremely unlikely that I don't spend any time thinking about it. I've got a great, great job that's very challenging, it's fascinating, it's exciting and it's rewarding ... I think there's a whole lot more that I can accomplish, so I'm focused on being the very best senator I can be."

Photo: Gabriel Gonzalez/Bloomberg

  • 10
  • Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno

March 13: "I love my job, and I really — I want to stay here, if I can. I really enjoy what I'm doing, I'm looking forward to another four years of continuing to turn a corner here and making our economy grow."

Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP

  • 11
  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

April 11: "I've got the job that I want."

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

  • 12
  • New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte

November 30: "I am very committed to representing New Hampshire. It is such a privilege to serve New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate."

Photo: Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty

  • 13
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

April 16: "Rice also said she would not be interested in joining Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as his running mate."

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

  • 14
  • Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

February 24: "I'm not going to be considering that, and I've taken myself off the list. He's going to have a lot of great people to pick from. I was down that road before with Senator [John] McCain. I'm honored to help Governor Romney as a volunteer and to help him in any way I can."

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • 15
  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio

April 19: “I don’t want to be the vice president right now, or maybe ever," Rubio said. Asked if he'd say no if he was asked by Romney, Rubio replied, "Yes. But you know he’s not going to ask. That doesn’t work. He’s watching this interview right now."

Photo: Richard Ellis/Getty

  • 16
  • South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

April 13: "I made a commitment to the people of South Carolina that I need to keep, so no, I would not accept."

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP

  • 17
  • New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez

April 17: "No ... Emphatically ... I am going to say that I am very honored and very humbled but I must decline."