The authors of the hot new book on the 2012 race for president, Double Down: Game Change 2012, devote a section to how Republican nominee Mitt Romney picked a vice presidential running mate. The book's authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann write that Romney asked "longtime adviser and confidante Beth Myers" to head up the VP search:
Myers set up her operation in a third-floor office on Boston’s Commercial Street that became known as “the clean room.” Because the Romney campaign’s servers were under continual assault by Chinese hackers, the computers in the clean room were not connected to the Internet. Myers insisted that the team be extremely cautious about what they put in e-mail when using their regular computers. Ted Newton and Chris Oman, two veep background checkers, concluded it was best to communicate in code. Based on their junk-food-saturated vetting diet, they called their undertaking Project Goldfish (after the crackers)—ultimately giving each of the VP finalists an aquatic code name. Myers’ plan was to have Project Goldfish completed by Memorial Day. In April she presented Romney with a list of two dozen names, which he whittled down to 11: Kelly Ayotte, John Cornyn, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Bill Frist, Mike Huckabee, Bob McDonnell, Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan.
Within a month, the vetters had assembled preliminary research books on the 11, which Romney perused and then rendered his short list: Christie (Pufferfish), Pawlenty (Lakefish), Portman (Filet o Fish), Rubio (Pescado) and Ryan (Fishconsin).
As we all know, Romney settled on "Fishconsin."
Mitt meditated on the choice that now seemed inevitable: Ryan. Beyond all the political pros and cons, Romney felt comfortable with Paul. He reminded Mitt of junior partners he used to work with at Bain: eager, earnest, solicitous, smart and not at all threatening. Bob White had a phrase for these buttoned-down go-getters, which he applied to Ryan: “client-ready.”