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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sometime before the Republican National Convention in Tampa next month, Mitt Romney will pick a running mate.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio repeatedly has said he doesn’t want the job. Then he wrote a book about himself and made sure it was published this summer, before Romney decided.

It’s possible that Rubio is 100 percent sincere about not joining the GOP ticket. Perhaps the only point of rushing his autobiography into print was to let America know what a fabulous vice president he would have made, had he been interested in the position. It’s also possible that he’ll jump at the offer if it comes his way.

For Romney, the first step in choosing a running mate is crossing the obvious losers off the list without offending their constituencies, however marginal and loony they might be. The first to go will be his opponents from the GOP primaries.

Newt Gingrich, who has written many more books than Rubio, won’t be on the ticket because nobody else in the party wants to colonize the moon.

Michele Bachmann, whose own book bombed, won’t be on the ticket because Romney is looking for someone who can pass as a sane person.

Herman Cain won’t be on the ticket because of those sex allegations and, secondarily, an embarrassingly foggy grasp of world politics. During the primaries Cain spent $36,000 in campaign funds to buy copies of his own autobiography, prematurely titled “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.”

Rick Santorum won’t be on the ticket because he scares away women voters, moderate male voters and most of his home state of Pennsylvania. He published a book seven years ago, but says he doesn’t remember writing parts of it.

Ron Paul, another prolific author, has blamed callous ghostwriters for passages published under his name that criticized AIDS patients and victims of workplace harassment. Paul won’t be on the Republican ticket, either.