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Book: how "Fishconsin" (Paul Ryan) beat "Lakefish" (Pawlenty) as Romney's VP


A new book about the 2012 presidential campaign will be published on Election Day, Nov. 5, one year after Barack Obama defeated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Time Magazine has an except from "Double Down: Game Change 2012," a followup to the 2010 bestseller "Game Change," a behind-the-scenes view of the 2008 presidential campaign. Both books are written by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Politico reports the authors conducted over 500 interviews with the campaign's key players.

Time's excerpt details Romney's decision-making process regarding his selection of a running mate. He asked his advisers involved in the search to select candidates that would be immediately perceived as qualified to be Commander in Chief, and that there should be nothing in their background that could become a distraction.

The search was termed Project Goldfish, and each of the finalists got a code name. The short list included N.J. Governor Chris Christie (Pufferfish), former Minn. Gov. Pawlenty (Lakefish), U.S. Rep. Rob Portman (Filet o Fish), Sen. Marco Rubio (Pescado) and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (Fishconsin).

The story said that Christie was the leading candidate among many of the advisers, but Romney ultimately concluded the N.J. governor had too much baggage and attitude and that he was more comfortable with Ryan. "Beyond all the political pros and cons, Romney felt comfortable with Paul. He reminded Mitt of junior partners he used to work with at Bain: eager, earnest, solicitous, smart and not at all threatening."

The chapter goes on to say that Obama's campaign staff was mystified by Romney's choice of Ryan. The President's team had "...polled and focus-grouped extensively on Romney’s veep options in order to be ready to respond. Their research showed that Tim Pawlenty’s “pro-beer, pro-hockey” persona might have helped ameliorate the nominee’s case of affluenza."

Expect to hear more about all of this in the coming week. Politico reports the authors will make the rounds of the talk shows and political panels.

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