Mitt Romney Begins VP Search

Romney also overheard at fundraiser discussing plans for cutting government

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Mitt Romney has tapped a long-time aide to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate the Republican presidential front-runner told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an interview.

"I have selected someone who has been a counselor of mine for a number of years, Beth Myers. She was my chief of staff when I was governor," Romney told Sawyer in an exchange set to air on Monday night.

[Read: Chatter on vice presidential nominees starts to build.] 

The former Massachusetts governor is widely expected to secure the GOP nomination after his last major rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, bowed out of the race last week.

Romney also made news over the weekend when reporters overheard comments he made to donors at a Florida fundraising event. His said he planned to shrink the number of federal agencies and employees, something consistent with his campaign messages but went into further detail than his public speeches generally offer.

[Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.]

"I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go," Romney said, according to an NBC News report. "Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I'm not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is we've got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states."

Romney also said he would seek to scale back the Department of Education, but avoid the political peril of vowing to entirely eliminate it.

[See pictures of Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.]

Ann Romney also was overheard commenting on the furor created last week when a Democratic strategist accused her of never having "worked a day in her life" on a cable news channel.

"It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother and that was really a defining moment and I loved it," she said, according to NBC.

The Romney campaign and Republicans have sought to use the exchange as a way to build inroads with independent women who prefer President Obama over the Republican candidate by wide margins in recent polling.

  • Read: Democrat's Ann Romney comments fan campaign flames
  • See photos of Vice President Joe Biden campaigning
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