(Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to be in the final stages of deciding who to pick as his vice presidential running mate, with speculation growing that he has narrowed his choice down to a short-list of three.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal all offer various strengths to Romney should he decide to pick one of them to join his battle to unseat President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, in the November 6 election.
Many Republicans believe Romney will break from tradition and announce his choice well before the party’s convention in Tampa in late August that will formally nominate Romney as the Republican candidate.
Campaign officials were loathe to discuss the selection process or the short list but made clear that Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had yet to make up his mind.
Naming his vice presidential running mate in coming days could help Romney remove a withering spotlight instigated by the Obama campaign over his personal financial information and tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital.
The Democrats accuse Romney of leading Bain at a time when it invested in companies that outsourced U.S. jobs overseas. Romney says he was running the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City at the time and had given up all management of the company.
The controversy is proving to be a distraction for the Romney campaign and overshadowing his attempt to make the election campaign about Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy amid 8.2 percent unemployment and record budget deficits.
Others who are believed to be under consideration for the No. 2 position include New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, South Dakota Senator John Thune and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.