Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad had yet to officially endorse a presidential candidate and Sen. Rick Santorum was technically still in the race when this line appeared in a Des Moines Register story: There will inevitably be questions about whether Branstad has potential as a candidate for vice president.
There will? From whom? (The only other paper suggesting it is The (Ogden, Utah) Standard-Examiner.)
Not longtime U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who said in March Iowa does not have enough electoral votes at stake for Branstad to be considered.
Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, makes a case for Branstad, calling him "one of the most experienced governors in American history" and telling the Register, "Presidential candidates have done a lot worse in the modern era!"
The article went on to say that Branstad is likely considered too much like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (read: moderate) to be considered, which is a key observation. That observation also likely rules out charismatic New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who many conservatives consider even more moderate, or liberal, than Romney.
Here are a few more.
How many people outside of Iowa know who he is? Others in the Midwest may be familiar with his name, especially with his recent public backing of "lean, finely-textured beef," but his name just doesn't stack up against Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
However, how many Average Joes knew the name Sarah Palin before 2008? Probably about the same who know Branstad's name now, so the possibility can't be ruled out by name recognition, or lack thereof, alone.
One of Branstad's strengths, depending on who you ask, is that he is a longtime governor in a "swing state." However, as Yahoo! News Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield pointed out, the days of picking a candidate geographically seem to be over.
"Instead of geography, balance of a different sort has come to matter more," Greenfield wrote. "Presidential nominees who were governors seek running mates with federal experience."
New York Gov. Tom Dewey was the last governor to pick another governor (California Gov. Earl Warren) back in 1948. Had the headlines actually been correct and Harry Truman lost, we may see more of that practice today.
Branstad just doesn't seem to be the right person to break that historical mold.
Furthermore, the $1 billion question is, "Could Branstad help Romney win in November?"
Considering all of the above factors, the answer is a weak maybe. Following a long primary season that seems to have damaged the GOP, Romney can't afford to risk his campaign on a maybe.