Kelly Ayotte with Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney should pick his Vice Presidential nominee this week before the Olympics startand he should choose a woman.

The underlying weakness of the Romney campaign is that women do not like him as much as men.

He leads comfortably with males but is almost ten points behind with females. Even more than with Hispanics, a female pick allows him to pick up several percentage points.

His position is par for the course for Republicans in recent elections, where a huge gender gap has developed.

For Romney to close that gap and put himself in position to win in November he needs to up the ante.

Picking a woman would achieve that goal.

There is one qualified woman by all accounts in the mixNew Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte.

As the Boston Globe recently wrote: “Now, Ayotte, less than two years into her first Senate term, hailing from one of the smallest states in the nation, is being considered as a serious contender for the vice presidency, aided by a profile potentially helpful to the ticket.

“She has firmly established conservative bona fides but appeals to independents with a biography that her boosters call grounded and “normal”—a mother of two who lives in her hometown and is married to a landscaper who flew combat missions during the Iraq War.”

In other words, think Sarah Palin without all the problems, an Italian American who graduated Villanova and who in a scant two years has shown she can operate on a national stage.

Sure, geographically her choice looks skewed with Romney essentially from a neighboring state. But in a year where grey and greyer is the distinguishing mark of Romney’s potential running mate, she adds a dash of color and verve to an otherwise boring process.

And if there is one thing  Romney knows about it is boring.

Now that Chris Christie, his obvious choice, is out of the running, Ayotte looks the best of the rest.

The question is, will Romney have the gambler’s instinct to pick her?