From NBC’s First Read:
*** Catching up: If we learned two things this week, it’s 1) that Team Obama was put on the defensive, and 2) that Team Romney has caught up in more ways than one. Indeed, this is the week Romney caught up in fundraising (his campaign and the RNC outraised Obama and the DNC, $76.8 million to $60 million), in some national and battleground state polls (the national FOX, EPIC-MRA in Michigan, and Purple Strategies’ swing states), and even on the airwaves (the Romney camp is up in seven states versus the Obama camp’s nine). As the GOP presumptive nominee, there was always a time when Romney was going to catch up; just see where John Kerry was at around this point in 2004. But that time is now.
*** Obama to hold press conference: Against this backdrop — his worst week of the campaign year coupled with Romney’s best – President Obama today holds a mini-press conference in the White House briefing room at 10:15 am ET. The issues that are likely to come up: the economy, Europe, Syria. But it’s also an attempt to wrest back control of the narrative a bit as the questions are likely to be a mix of both international and campaign. What’s more, it’s the first opportunity for the press corps to ask him about Wisconsin.
*** If the VP picks were stocks: With some possible Romney VP picks speaking at the CPAC gathering in Chicago (more on that below), we’re introducing a way to look at Romney’s running mate candidates. There are plenty of Top 10 lists out there, but what we’re introducing is a way to look at their value — much like a stock. Who is overvalued right now (in terms of risk vs. reward)? Who is underpriced? Who is priced correctly? Here are our thoughts:
The most expensive: Rob Portman, Marco Rubio. These guys — right now — would be your most expensive stocks to buy because they are being viewed both internally and externally as the clear-cut frontrunners. But you can argue the potential risk each brings has NOT been priced into their stock (Bush years for Portman, unvetted record for Rubio).
Other Overvalued Picks: Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell. These two governors get lots of attention, but maybe more attention than Team Romney is giving them as both present some downsides that too many in the media overlook.
Undervalued: Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, John Thune: If you were looking for a good deal, you would consider this category, especially Pawlenty, who was McCain’s runner-up in 2008. All of these folks are probably under more serious consideration than the C.W. crowd believes.
Valued just about right: Kelly Ayotte, Paul Ryan, Susana Martinez. Their risks and rewards have all been priced about right by the C.W. crowd.