Mitt Romney can pick a running mate from the safe list or go maverick by choosing someone who can help him in battleground states. Going the safe route, it’s generally agreed that the politically cautious Romney will choose Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty or Bobby Jindal as his VP. But choosing a wild-card—a move not entirely out of character for a Republican nominee—could complement his platform, but it could also imply concerns about the campaign’s chances in November. “There is an inverse relationship between a campaign’s confidence about its prospects and the amount of risk it’s willing to take on a running mate,” said Dan Schur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, University of Southern California. GOP strategist Mary Matalin said choosing Palin or Cheney was not about risk-taking, but fulfilling “a need and reinforced a message compatible with the candidacy.”

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