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Veepstakes: Mini-Mitt?

Stu Rothenberg: “I’m not merely a columnist. I’m a political analyst who writes a column. And the political analyst in me tells me that all of the chatter about Romney’s running mate is a lot of wasted, useless, meaningless hot air. In all likelihood, Romney’s selection of a running mate will have little or no effect on the November general election.”

So on that note…

The Hill’s Schroeder: “Mitt Romney is on the hunt for a vice presidential candidate, and if his years running Bain Capital are any indication, he might be looking for a version of himself. In his roughly 25 years at Bain, Romney tended to hire mini-Mitts — smart, ambitious, clean-cut and a little awkward, according to those who dealt closely with the men.”

The shadow of Palin looms large… Robert Costa: “Many senior Republican politicos, including some who were burned by the Palin backlash, are now urging Mitt Romney to consider inside-the-Beltway experience as a plus rather than a minus as he mulls his veep pick. Mild-mannered federal lawmakers with long résumés are in; fiery rising stars are out.”

Costa writes that names repeatedly mentioned are Rob Portman and Mitch Daniels, though Daniels has had pretty tough things to say about Romney.

AYOTTE: GOP 12’s Heinze says Romney should target “soccer moms” not “hockey moms” – and “if Romney is going to target Soccer Moms, Kelly Ayotte would make a strong pick. NOW.... Sarah Palin didn't prove that picking a woman doesn't help with women. Palin was simply the wrong woman.”

CHRISTIE: The Boston Globe’s editorial page warns Romney against picking Christie because, the paper says, he hurt the entire East Coast by canceling the New Jersey to New York tunnel project: “[I]t’s become clear that he exaggerated the facts when making the showcase gesture that put him on the political map. … [N]ational voters should be under no illusions about Christie’s decision. It was short-sighted, ran counter to the economic interests of his state, and hampered transportation through the entire Northeast. Before Romney decides whether to make Christie his running mate, he should review the deal carefully — and perhaps look elsewhere for a suitable VP.”

This is so Jersey… here’s how the state Transportation Commissioner defended canceling the tunnel project yesterday: "How many ingredients do you take off of a pizza before it ceases to be a pizza? They took the sauce and the mozzarella off this deal when we were starting to build it. It made no sense."

“The Christie administration's failure to swiftly approve or deny requests for emergency repair work at dozens of dilapidated schools across the state has prompted a Newark-based law group to file suit against the state Department of Education,” the Star-Ledger writes.

(Christie’s kids don’t go to public school; they go to parochial school. Remember, Gayle?)

JINDAL: He spoke yesterday before the U.S-Azerbaijan Convention in D.C. “The event is sponsored by SOCAR, Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company, British Petroleum, McDermott, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips,” the Monroe News Star writes.

"He was invited to speak and he gave a speech about energy production and exploration in Louisiana," spokesman Kyle Plotkin emailed First Read.

Jindal will also be going to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. And he will be in New Jersey May 3-4 talking education at the American Federation for Children’s third annual National Policy Summit.

MCDONNELL: McDonnell will be at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this weekend, “sitting aside A-list actresses Eva Longoria and Charlize Theron,” the Washington Post writes.

Local NBC affiliate WSLS writes of McDonnell’s ad now running in Virginia: “It's the type of ad you would expect to see from an incumbent fighting for re-election. But with no election in sight for Governor McDonnell, many are questioning why he is running the ad is running now.”

RUBIO: A critic of the president’s TelePrompter, Marco Rubio lost the last page of his foreign-policy speech yesterday. "I left my last page of the speech-- does anyone have my last page?” he asked. “Did I Ieave it with you?"

He quickly recovered when the page was handed to him.

Joe Scarborough doesn’t think Rubio’s ready: "Let me set myself on fire, politically. He's not ready to be vice-president,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, GOP 12 notes. “Just like Barack Obama wasn't ready to be president in 2008, just like Sarah Palin wasn't ready to be on the national ticket in 2008."

Because of a threat, Rubio was under police protection.

RYAN: Why going “Vanilla” might be more palatable for Romney… “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), author of the House majority's budget proposal, will be met by Catholic protesters outside of a scheduled lecture at Georgetown University on Thursday,” The Hill writes. “Catholics United, a social justice group aligned with more liberal politics, is organizing the gathering in response to cuts Ryan's budget would make to social welfare programs. The group says it will have an actor portraying ‘GOP Jesus’ outside where Ryan will be delivering a policy speech as a part of the Catholic school’s Whittington Lecture series.”