With convention speakers named, Romney’s VP list appears to narrow

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By Mark Preston

(CNN) — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — three women rumored to be under consideration as Mitt Romney’s running mate — will have high profile speaking roles at the Republican National Convention, organizers will announce Monday.

In addition, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will also have prime time speaking roles at the four day event that begins August 27 in Tampa, a GOP official confirms.

The Tampa Bay Times first reported the names of the speakers early Monday morning on its web site.

Names that will not be announced in the first roll out of convention speakers: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Romney is rumored to be looking at these five men – specifically Pawlenty and Portman – to join him on the GOP ticket.

The Romney campaign has not said when it will name a vice presidential running mate, but speculation is that it won’t happen until after the Olympics end next Sunday. And several other people, in addition to the five named above, are said to be under consideration in this very secretive process.

The GOP official did not say at what specific date and time each person would speak. But in announcing the names as prime time speakers, Romney’s campaign appears to be trying to highlight the GOP’s ethnic, racial and political diversity.

Also, by stating that Scott will take a high profile role at the convention, the Romney campaign is putting to rest speculation about what role, if any, the politically unpopular governor would play in the convention in his own state. Florida is considered one of the key battlegrounds in the 2012 election.

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