As Mitt Romney widens his lead on the field of GOP presidential candidates, the front-runner is searching from a narrowing list of potential vice presidential candidates who can perhaps deliver on the intangibles that voters say his candidacy still needs.

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan appears to be in the top mix of any list, to be sure. The Wisconsin congressman campaigned in his home state with Romney for five days around the Tuesday primary, helping the former Massachusetts governor win convincingly in a three-state sweep.

Several other contenders meanwhile claim to be taking themselves out of the running, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t change their minds if asked, but the volume of political figures shunning the VP spotlight suggests Romney’s choices might be limited.

Ryan, while not a lock, is seen as a natural complement in a GOP ticket that has Romney as the Harvard-educated financier at top and Ryan, who rose from working-class roots to chairman of the House Budget Committee, as a running mate. Ryan’s deficit-slashing budget proposals have helped make him a rising GOP star.

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