In the long tribal dance between reporters and politicians we call the veepstakes, the latest way to make prospective vice presidential candidates squirm is to ask them about the vetting process. This is how Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell made "news" when he told NBC's Chuck Todd that the Romney campaign hadn't asked him to provide "vetting documents" to assess his potential as a vice presidential candidate. While headlines have blared for more than a week that the "Vice Presidential Audition Process Has Begun!" what we know about the process is usually vague answers to the vague question put to potential veeps like "would you accept the vice presidential nomination?" The more concrete "Have you provided the campaign with materials?" is a refreshing change. But politicians still have proven they are experts at dodges and obfuscations. Here's the list of the folks that have already had the unavoidable question put to them on the record and their pained answers.
Gov. Bob McDonnell: Our first straight shooter. On Tuesday, Chuck Todd asked him if he "has had to turn anything over to the Romney campaign. "Nope," he replied. "But I'm going to do everything I can to help him in Virginia." Well, that settles that ... for now.
Tim Pawlenty: The also-ran was asked if Romney's campaign had asked for documents, and he said has asked him to turn over documents to undergo vetting, Pawlenty, who serves as the national co-chair of Romney’s campaign, remained mum, refusing to talk about the "process."
"Well, the Romney campaign has a policy — and I'm a national co-chair of the campaign — that we don't talk about the vice presidential policy in terms of timing, whether it relates to me or anyone else or the aspects of that," Pawlenty said. "That's just the campaign's policy. We don't discuss the details of that process."
That, at least, sounds like a concrete and plausible explanation for the non-denial denial.