Mitt Romney Kelly Ayotte

November 23, 2011 by staff 

Mitt Romney Kelly Ayotte, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Monday dropped a name for a possible running mate should he secure his party’s nomination.

“There are probably 15 names of people, including (New Hampshire Sen.) Kelly Ayotte,” Romney said in an interview on Fox News. “I mean, there are terrific Republicans in the Senate, in the House, in governors’ offices.”

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.

Ayotte, who was sitting next to Romney at the time of the interview, threw her support behind Romney this weekend in a highly coveted endorsement.

The first-term senator was elected in 2010 with 60% of the vote and is seen as a strong conservative on issues of finance and defense. A former state attorney general, Ayotte voted against the debt deal hammered out in Congress this summer.

Asked who she thinks Romney should consider for vice president, Ayotte pointed to names already floating around in GOP circles: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

She also pointed to Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico as a strong candidate.

While Romney has been criticized from the right for being too moderate, Ayotte said her main focus was electing a Republican who could oust President Barack Obama from the White House.

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