Trump's veepstakes: No Pence offer yet

Story highlights

  • Mike Pence hasn't been asked to become Donald Trump's running mate
  • Trump's campaign has given Chris Christie a "full vet"

Indianapolis (CNN)Mike Pence hasn't been asked to join Donald Trump's ticket and hasn't received signals from Trump's campaign that an offer is imminent, a source close to Pence says.

Pence, the first-term Republican governor of Indiana, is set to attend a fundraiser and a rally with Trump near Indianapolis Tuesday as Trump nears a decision on his vice presidential running mate.
    Speaking to reporters here Tuesday, Pence said he doesn't plan to meet one-on-one with Trump before the events. But he compared Trump to former president and GOP icon Ronald Reagan.
    "I think he has spoken into the frustration and the longings of the American people as no one since the 40th president, and I think you're going to continue to see him do that," Pence said. "He's going to build a great team around him -- a great message around him -- and whatever role that we have to play in that, I look forward to helping to tell that story all across the state of Indiana and anywhere else he asks me to do it."
    The Indiana events come as Trump finishes a round of tryouts with vice presidential possibilities. He campaigned Monday in Virginia with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has gone through a "full vet" for the spot, a source familiar with Trump's vice presidential selection process said. And last week, Trump campaigned in Cincinnati with Newt Gingrich.
    A source familiar with the process told CNN Tuesday Christie is interested in the vice presidential role but is not pushing his candidacy. The source said Christie was a serious contender to get the slot, saying his skills on the debate stage and the campaign trail could be appealing to Trump.
    "It's clearly serious. He's clearly in the final group," the source said.
    At his event with Trump, Christie hammered Hillary Clinton, saying that that "we had the spectacle last week of watching a director of the FBI twice in one week repeatedly say that the Democratic nominee for president lied to the American people -- that the Democratic nominee for president put her own political connivance ahead of the safety and security of the American people, an FBI director who said that the repeated assurances that Mrs. Clinton has given us over the course of the last year regarding her emails ... in every material way were false."
    It was a remarkable assault from Christie, who on the campaign trail in New Hampshire often spoke of his respect and admiration for Comey, his boss at the Justice Department.
    "That's not a person who will stand for the rule of law," Christie said. "That's a person who will stand for the rule of her, and that's not a person we need in the White House."
    On Monday night, Trump's ex-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, heaped praise on the New Jersey governor at the expense of Pence.
    "Can Chris Christie go out and help Donald Trump go out and raise money? Will Chris Christie be that person to support Donald Trump when the attacks come? Much more so than Mike Pence would be," he said on CNN. "I think when push came to shove at the end of this election, 17 weeks from tomorrow, Chris Christie would be the person standing next to Donald Trump making sure that his philosophy, his process, desire to go directly at Hillary Clinton, would be put forth by Chris Christie much more so than Mike Pence would do it."
    In Indiana, Pence's advisers and allies in Indiana have believed if he is Trump's choice, an announcement would be likely at the Tuesday night rally Trump is holding in nearby Westfield.
    However, the source familiar with Trump's selection process said that's not necessarily true, pointing to the end of this week as another option.
    Pence himself has been even-keeled through Trump's selection process. "He is not a pushy guy. In the Lord's hands, he would say," a Republican operative close to Pence said.
    House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday he has the "highest regard" for Pence and he's "just as anxious" as everyone to hear who Trump will choose as his running mate.
    Pence's allies grew pessimistic over the weekend as reports emerged that Trump was considering two retired generals, Michael Flynn and Stanley McChrystal.
    That changed Monday when Trump told The Washington Post that he likes the idea of picking someone "political," rather than a military figure.
    Trump said he'd make a vice presidential pick in the "next three to four days," and that he's considering five people -- including retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn.
    "I do like the military, but I do very much like the political," Trump said, signaling that a running mate with political experience is more likely than one with military expertise.
    A source familiar with the process indicated Tuesday that the known finalists appear to be set, adding, "Time is running short" on the search process.
    On Monday morning, Pence deflected questions about whether he expects to be Trump's vice presidential nominee.
    "I haven't had any contact with Mr. Trump since we spoke about a week ago. You'll have to talk to the campaign about what their timetable is," he said.
    But he also made the case for Trump's election, saying, "I'm prepared to make that case anywhere across Indiana and anywhere across this country that Donald Trump would want me to."