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A Tale Of Two Veeps

After folding their campaigns, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee promised to do everything they could to get John McCain elected this Fall. But both former contenders are also busy plotting their own comebacks, positioning themselves either as good vice presidential selections for McCain or as strong candidates themselves for 2012, should McCain's bid fall short.

Romney has been the most active, appearing for McCain this week at a Lancaster, Pennsylvania Republican dinner, shepherding McCain around Utah for a major fundraiser and promising to hit the stump in the future. Romney has also said he will raise $15 million for McCain, as the Associated Press' Glen Johnson reports.

The issues McCain is going to face in November could auger well for Romney, something of an economic whiz whose background as a businessman included helping Staples, Domino's and the Olympics turn themselves around. As more voters pay attention to the economy, McCain may decide he needs a running mate with serious economic credentials, and though animosity is still said to exist between the two, Romney would fit that bill.

Huckabee, too, is staying active. He signed a contract with a Hollywood talent agency this week, and next week he will launch a new venture with a major speech, to which his website is counting down (four days, five hours, forty-one minutes and twenty five seconds from the time this post was written). Huckabee brings executive experience, and though the Club for Growth dislikes him, his "Fair Tax" plan could be a compelling addition to a McCain-led ticket.

Then again, McCain can't choose both former rivals for the number two slot, and if McCain loses this year, the two will likely fight it out for the GOP nomination down the road. Fortunately for both, Iowa and New Hampshire are swing states, which voted differently in 2000 and 2004 (Iowa flipped from Gore to Bush, while New Hampshire flipped from Bush to Kerry). Which surrogate is going to park themselves in Des Moines to ensure the state's seven electoral votes go to their guy? Not a bad way to build the brand for 2012.