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Has ABC Figured Out the Top Three Romney VP Contenders?

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"As for whom the pick will be, I believe the short list comes down to three names..."

AP

When it comes to the choice of who will stand alongside GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney as his Vice President, precisely two people might know - namely, Mitt Romney and Romney campaign manager Beth Myers. However, that hasn't stopped every pundit within miles from speculating as to who the choice will be. This speculation has centered on everyone from plausibility-straining dark horses (Condi Rice) to safe but uninspiring choices (Tim Pawlenty) to people whose names have never even come up in connection with the process, but who seem to be propelled along by sheer wishful thinking anyway (Allen West).

However, now that the process is widely agreed to be in its closing phase, that punditry has finally begun to crystallize into serious short lists. And one of the more certain of the people compiling those lists is ABC's Jonathan Karl, who has stated with some certainty that he knows who the top three contenders are for Romney's VP. Read Karl's predictions below (emphasis added):

As for whom the pick will be, I believe the short list comes down to three names: Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty and Paul Ryan.

Ryan is the dark horse here, dismissed by many as relatively inexperienced and tainted by his controversial "Path to Prosperity" budget, but Romney confidants tell me Romney thinks highly of Ryan and sees his budget plan as a positive, despite the predictable attacks that would come from Democrats. After all, those attacks will come anyway (Democrats already speak of the "Romney-Ryan Budget"). Picking Ryan for VP would put on the ticket the person best able to respond to those attacks.

And get this: Some of Romney's political advisers believe Ryan could put Wisconsin in play, giving a Romney-Ryan ticket a chance of winning a state that hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale in 1984. They point to a recent PPP poll that showed putting Ryan on the ticket cuts President Obama's lead in Wisconsin to a single point.

Karl's choices are fairly conventional wisdom in two cases - Portman and Pawlenty (who, as of now, lead the Intrade VP prediction market). However, his Ryan pick deviates from Intrade substantially, which lists Florida Senator Marco Rubio as the third most likely candidate to be Romney's Veep.

What do you think? Has Karl got it right? Weigh in below.

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