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Mitt Romney VP Choice Among Tough Decisions He Will Make

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at Mustang Expediting April 23, 2012 in Aston, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at Mustang Expediting April 23, 2012 in Aston, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Not only must Mitt Romney pick a running mate, he also needs to decide which former rivals he'll invite to speak at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August – if any. It won't be an easy decision.

How about Newt Gingrich, for instance, who once branded him "a liar"? A day before he is set to formally end his campaign, the former House speaker posted a video on his website Tuesday vowing to keep working to defeat President Barack Obama – without even mentioning Romney.

Or Rick Santorum, who branded Romney a "Massachusetts moderate" and "the worst Republican in the country" to face Obama?

At the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, a vanquished Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke glowingly of Barack Obama, imploring her loyalists to drop any grudges and "unite as a single party with a single purpose." The crowd went wild.

That seemed to work out nicely for both the president and his secretary of state.

But some former contenders wound up upstaging their party's standard-bearers, or delivering out-of-sync messages.

The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass, gave his stirring "the dream shall never die" speech at the 1980 Democratic convention in New York. It clearly outshone President Jimmy Carter's acceptance speech. An eloquent New York Gov. Mario Cuomo similarly upstaged Democratic nominee Walter Mondale at the 1984 convention in San Francisco.

President George H.W. Bush gave the podium to conservative firebrand Pat Buchanan at the 1992 GOP convention in Houston. The former rival went on to deliver a fiery speech that denounced "environmental extremists" and "radical feminism" and warned of "a culture war" in the country that he likened to "the Cold War itself."

It wasn't quite the unifying message the more politically moderate Bush, who liked to invoke a vision of a "thousand points of light," wanted to convey.

Now, it's Romney's turn.

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