Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursday dropped some names of potential running mates in the 2008 race, adding that such speculation was premature.
Among those Romney mentioned for the second slot on the Republican ticket were three Southerners: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“There’s some wonderful people right here in this state, as you know, Gov. Sanford being one of them,” said Romney, formerly governor of Massachusetts, to a round of applause. He had been asked about vice presidential picks by a member of a crowd of about 400 people gathered for his campaign stop in this earlyvoting state.
“I have to be honest with you, I haven’t given a lot of thought to that, so I don’t want to put any names in that hat right now,” Romney said.
But he did say Bush was “quite a guy.”
“I love him. If his name weren’t Bush, he’d be running for president, I’m convinced,” said Romney, who added he also was “pretty partial” to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.
Talking with reporters later, Romney said that the names he mentioned were part of a list of vice presidential contenders that anyone winning the Republican nomination would have to consider.
“When I’m in South Carolina, I’m not going to fail to mention some of the ones that are closest,” Romney said.