As my last post indicated, I share the belief that the sudden spate of media coverage about Romney’s vice presidential possibilities and deliberations is being carefully promoted by his campaign to distract attention from a set of stories about Mitt’s relationship with Bain Capital that aren’t going well for the challenger. That’s apparent not just because of the timing, but of the variety of arguments for and rumors about various Veep hopefuls that are circulating, most based on supposedly good inside sources.

Last Friday you had Condi-mania, which, unlikely as it was, got a lot of both positive and negative attention. Today you have competing articles boosting T-Paw, Bobby Jindal, and Jone Thune. And it’s about time for another outbreak of pieces about how fascinating Rob Portman is when you get to know him, and then some contrarian talk about how Marco Rubio still makes sense, and/or is the secret choice the Romney campaign is trying to hide. And Chris Christie and Paul Ryan rumors always get some buzz–the former from excited Republicans and the latter from excited Democrats. The louder and less credible the speculation becomes, the more trouble the Romney campaign perceives itself to be in on other fronts.

It’s important to remember now and then that the identity of Romney’s running-mate is very unlikely to have much if any impact on the outcome of the presidential contest, unless it’s someone profoundly controversial like Rice (a pro-choicer) or Ryan (who represents the hidden Republican policy agenda). But the perceived news value is enormous, which makes it a resource the Romney campaign can reliably tap again and again.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.