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Inside Politics: Ryan hasn’t talked VP with Romney

- - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A leading House Republican says he hasn't had a discussion with Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney about taking the No. 2 spot on the ticket this fall.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin tells NBC's "Today" show the subject hasn't come up but that he enjoys working with the former Massachusetts governor.

But on the matter of joining Mr. Romney on the ticket, Mr. Ryan says, "I haven't given enough thought to that question" and adds, "I think he still has to go through the process of nailing it down. He still has opponents."

Mr. Ryan suggests Mr. Romney is miscast politically because he served as governor of Massachusetts, saying, "He reminds me of a sort of earnest, upper Midwest person." Mr. Ryan says Mr. Romney "has the principles, the skills, the skills" to govern the country.

SENATE

Lawmakers show some comity, if only briefly

For a brief moment in a season of partisan rancor, Senate Democrats and Republicans as well as the White House hit the pause button.

In a matter of minutes last month, more than 60 of President Obama's nominees to be ambassadors, financial regulators and senior agency officials sailed through Senate confirmation without acrimony.

That rare moment of comity before the Senate went on spring break was a sharp contrast to the Christmas-New Year's holiday, when Mr. Obama used recess appointments to bypass Senate Republicans blocking his nominees to the National Labor Relations Board and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The difference between the two events is that core union, consumer and business constituencies for one party or the other didn't take vehement positions for or against the latest nominees.

CENSUS

Director leaving bureau, no timetable for replacement

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves is stepping down, having overseen the 2010 census but raising questions about the future stewardship of an agency grappling with potential cuts to government surveys.

Mr. Groves says he will leave in August to become provost of Georgetown University. He has been director since 2009, leading the agency's once-a-decade count of the nation's population. That census was generally praised for being accurate and coming in $1.9 billion below budget.

His departure comes at a time of transition for the bureau and just before the November elections. It will leave a vacancy until President Obama nominates a new director who is approved by the Senate.

In years past, presidents sometimes have been slow to successfully nominate a census director, leaving the post vacant for many months.

NORTH CAROLINA

Edwards campaign repays taxpayers $2.1 million

RALEIGH | John Edwards' campaign has repaid $2.1 million in public matching funds received after the North Carolina Democrat dropped out of the 2008 presidential primary amid a sex scandal.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Election Commission confirmed Tuesday that the agency had received the money. The bipartisan election commission ruled unanimously last year that Mr. Edwards was improperly paid the taxpayer money after he suspended his campaign on Jan. 30, 2008.

Mr. Edwards appealed that ruling, which the FEC upheld March 12. The campaign was given 30 days to send a check to the U.S. Treasury.

Mr. Edwards faces a criminal trial set to begin Thursday on unrelated campaign finance charges of nearly $1 million paid by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress during the race. He has pleaded not guilty.

MINNESOTA

Pawlenty closes book on presidential campaign debt

MINNEAPOLIS | Former Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has wiped away the last of his campaign debt.

Mr. Pawlenty's campaign said Tuesday it had filed its last report, as well as papers to terminate his campaign committee.

The debt stood at nearly $500,000 in the fall but was down to just a few thousand dollars last month. Mr. Pawlenty has had help raising money to pay the bills from GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.

Mr. Pawlenty, a former two-term governor of Minnesota, dropped out of the race in August after a poor showing in the Iowa straw poll. He supports Mr. Romney for the GOP nomination.

LABOR

Employers posted more job openings in February

Employers posted slightly more job openings and stepped up overall hiring in February. The figures suggest that modest job gains may continue in the coming months.

The Labor Department says employers posted 3.5 million job openings in February, up slightly from a revised 3.48 million in January. Job openings reached a three-year high of 3.54 million in December.

The data come after a disappointing jobs report last week. Employers added just 120,000 jobs in March, about half the average that were added in the previous three months.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, though that was mostly because people gave up looking for work.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports