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Ann Romney says Mitt considering a woman for vice president slot

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, July 5 2012 2:28 p.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wife Ann Romney, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., walk in the Fourth of July Parade in Wolfeboro, N.H., Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Associated Press

Related: The 2012 Veepstakes: 20 possible VP picks for Mitt Romney

WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Mitt Romney's wife has confirmed a tidbit about the vice presidential search process her husband largely has been keeping secret: He's considering choosing a woman.

"We've been looking at that, and I love that option as well," Ann Romney told CBS News in a joint interview with her husband that was broadcast Thursday. She added: "There's a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now."

The disclosure came as the Republican presidential candidate, vacationing with his family at their lakeside estate in Wolfeboro, faced mounting criticism from inside the party about the state of his campaign.

Officially, the campaign says Romney is doing what he's done for the past decade — enjoying family time during a weeklong holiday in New Hampshire. It's also a break from the campaign trail and a chance to relax before the pre-convention push. But unofficially, the bit of down time is a chance for the contemplative Romney to consider who to tap for the No. 2 slot, how the campaign is going and whether to adjust strategy in a contest that polls show is close.

Romney declined in the interview to describe the status of the vice presidential search, saying: "That's something I'm keeping close with my team." He also didn't respond to growing calls within Republican circles for him to shake up his staff after a series of missteps. Among them: his campaign's initial refusal to side with Republicans who agree with the Supreme Court that the penalty included in President Barack Obama's health care mandate amounts to a tax. Romney eventually agreed with that assessment and, in doing so, broke with a key spokesman.

All that has conservative opinion leaders, including media titan Rupert Murdoch, calling for Romney to shake up his top staff. GOP officials in key states also are increasingly calling on Romney to talk about issues beyond his key message — that the economy remains weak under Obama — and to be more specific about what he would do as president.

William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, wrote Thursday that Romney's strategy "strikes me as a path to (narrow) defeat." The Wall Street Journal editorial page also criticized the campaign's "insular staff and strategy that are slowly squandering an historic opportunity."

"Mr. Obama is being hurt by an economic recovery that is weakening for the third time in three years. But Mr. Romney hasn't been able to take advantage, and if anything he is losing ground," the newspaper wrote, calling for "a larger economic narrative and vision than Mr. Romney has so far provided."

Ann Romney, for her part, took issue with the Obama team's strategy, telling her interviewer that Democrats will "do everything they can to destroy Mitt."

"Early on we heard what their strategy was. It was 'kill Romney,'" she said, adding a message to Obama: "Not when I'm next to him you better not."

She also sketched out her own requirements for what she'd like to see in a running mate, saying the person should be "someone that obviously can do the job but will be able to carry through with some of the other responsibilities." She said the person should be someone who will have her husband's back and who he will enjoy being around and have "the same personality type." She added: "Competent, capable and willing to serve this country. I think there's lots of good people out there that fill that bill right now."

Inside Republican circles, speculation also is high about who Romney will choose, with his search well under way and his self-imposed deadline for picking someone "before the convention" looming large. It's the biggest decision he will make between now and when he accepts the GOP presidential nomination in late August.

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