#USelections2012: The Veep-stakes

This week: Romney hones in on a second banana; Obama gets dissed by video.

USelections2012 (photo credit: Supplied)
(photo credit: Supplied)
As the Republican convention to nominate Mitt Romney as the official GOP candidate nears, increasing hype has developed - both in the virtual and real worlds - as to who will fill the number two slot on the ticket.
After last week’s rare tweets from the head of Romney’s vice presidential search committee hinted at who might be Mitt’s right hand wo/man, a slew of Internet sites popped up in preparation for the announcement. 
The Romney camp itself put out a VP iPhone app, which consists of little more than a promise to notify its users ahead of “just about everyone else (except Ann)” of the selection when it’s made, not to mention handy sign-up and donate functions.
The Washington Post, on the other hand, put a little more meat on the bones of to the VP nomination, leading users down a qualitative path of considerations: Should Mitt choose for his sidekick an establishment or Tea party figure? A safe bet or a game-changer? A status quo character or historic first? The options narrow down a list of 18 possible choices to one lucky candidate.
If 18 options are too overwhelming for vice presidential enthusiasts, and the 13 alluded to in the aforementioned tweets are still too numerous, there is good news. Having announced the first set of speakers for the nominating convention (but left the major headliner slots empty), Romney effectively narrowed down the list. The fact that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice are speaking early on in the convention essentially strikes them from the VP list. 
Sen. Rob Portman, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, however, are all still in the running.
In addition to VP hype, Romney has also enjoyed a second consecutive month of outraising his Democratic rival, US President Barack Obama. Yet, in another case of virtuality imitating life, the analysts at Yahoo! found that the nominees’ Twitter followers were similar to their donors.
While Romney boasts deep-pocketed backers, he only raises about half as much as Obama from small donors. As it turns out, a similar fad exists on Twitter - users with few followers are more likely to support Obama, but as their followings increase, so too does their affinity for Romney.  All in all, however, the young, tech-savvy Twitter demographic is pro-Obama, so Romney never really edges him out in Tweet favorability. Perhaps it only makes sense that the solidly blue state of Washington recently became the first to allow voting registration via Facebook.
Adding to the good vibes on social media sites, Obama took to Twitter this week to congratulate newly-minted all-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps on his record-breaking 18th gold medal this week, garnering an exuberant and patriotic reply.
Tweet of the Week:

But if the Twitter-verse was kind to Obama this week, the same could not be said of the video-sphere. 
A YouTube clip of a six-year-old boy explaining why voters should not give the president a second term went viral, garnering nearly 750,000 views. Some viewers, however, were unimpressed with his suggestions that Obama was "taking money from people who work hard" and "wants to take guns away from good guys."
Viral Video of the Week:
If that weren’t bad enough for Obama, another clip parodying the popular Gotye song “Somebody that I used to know” exhibited the generational ennui that has set in with the “hope” and “change” peddler, saying “Because you won and then you cut me off, now your speeches never soar as high as unemployment.”
But Obama shouldn’t take it too much to heart. The latest polls give him an growing lead over Romney in crucial swing states.
#USelections2012 offers weekly insight into the US presidential election through a social media lens, tracking candidates as they try to reach 270 electoral votes in 140 characters or less.

The writer is a Breaking News editor and blogger at The Jerusalem Post. Read his blog ‘The Bottom Line’ here.