Veepstakes: The political striptease of choosing a candidate

Amy Walter, David Chalian & Rick Klein

Top Line

The vice presidential search is more than a guessing game or a waiting game -- it's a political striptease, with campaigns slowly peeling off layers one at a time until we get to the naked truth: Who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. From speculating when the announcement will be made to dissecting how certain states play in the VP strategy, any piece of information can come under scrutiny for its connection to Romney and potential VP contenders.

The art of picking a vice president is, at least in this case for the Mitt Romney campaign, revealing a little bit at a time about who this person could or could not be.

The latest glove to come off this week came with the announcement of some of the top Republicans who will speak at the Republican convention later this month, raising the question of whether or not the names revealed on this list can be removed from the VP prospect list.

But as we search for clues into Romney's thinking, the Romney campaign has learned to maximize every advantage they have — from creating an iPhone app to scoop up voter information to dangling VP prospects in front of donors at fundraisers and campaign events across the country.

The Romney team puts out little fakes, signals, and smoke flares every once and a while, getting people focused on something around the veepstakes as opposed to something they don't want to be talking about. It is one thing they can do that President Obama cannot, and they are milking it.

Could there be an Ohio strategy that leads Romney to pick Sen. Rob Portman, who may help the former governor win Buckeye state voters? Could Romney opt for a bolder and sexier pick in Sen. Marco Rubio or Rep. Paul Ryan like some conservatives the Party are urging? Or could the decision already be made and Romney is using the anticipation to toy with reporters desperate for a summer story? Check out this week's TopLine for more.

ABC's Richard Coolidge and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.