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Now that the Republican Party appears to be finally coalescing around the idea that Mitt Romney is the likely GOP presidential nominee, the conversation has shifted towards who the former Massachusetts governor should select as his running mate. In a recent interview, one of Romney’s former opponents suggested he look to Florida for his choice. Speaking with conservative radio host Steve Gill, Herman Cain says he believes Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is an “excellent choice” for vice president.

When asked who he would recommend Romney select as VP, Cain said, “Colonel Allen West out of Florida.” He added: “He is well-spoken, he is direct, people in Florida love him, he has a huge following. He is from Florida. Florida is going to be one of those key states. But more importantly, Colonel Allen West is a dedicated patriot. He served in the military, and he is willing to serve his country some more.”

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Other names that have been floated thus far include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and more recently, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Another Florida politician, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), has also been mentioned as a potential choice.

Despite being a one-term congressman, Cain advises that West seize the opportunity if offered. Cain explained: “But my advice to him, if he were to ask me, is, you’ve served your country well and now you have a higher calling. And I would strongly recommend that he consider it, depending on any personal considerations he might have.” If chosen, West would be the first African-American nominated for vice president and as well as the first to join a GOP presidential ticket.

West recently netted national headlines for acknowledging that he supported parts of President Obama’s health care bill — namely the provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26. However, he did accuse the bill of perpetuating prejudice. The Palm Beach Post quoted West at a town hall meeting in West Palm Beach saying, “You want to talk about something that’s really racist? They have a tanning tax. I’m not tanning.”

You can hear Cain’s West-touting interview at Talking Points Memo.


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