WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- Mitt Romney's wife has confirmed a tidbit about the vice presidential search process her husband largely has been keeping secret: He's considering choosing a woman.

"We've been looking at that, and I love that option as well," Ann Romney told CBS News in a joint interview with her husband that was broadcast yesterday. She added: "There's a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now."

The disclosure came as the Republican presidential candidate, vacationing with his family at their lakeside estate in Wolfeboro, faced mounting criticism from inside the party about the state of his campaign.

Officially, the campaign says Romney is doing what he's done for the past decade -- enjoying family time during a weeklong holiday.

But unofficially, the bit of down time is a chance for Romney to consider who to tap for the No. 2 slot, how the campaign is going and whether to adjust strategy in a contest that polls show is close.

Romney declined in the interview to describe the status of the vice presidential search, saying: "That's something I'm keeping close with my team."

Inside Republican circles, speculation is high about who Romney will choose. Talk among GOP insiders has focused on men as likely top prospects, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

But no less than a half-dozen other names also have popped up, including New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte -- who walked in a July Fourth parade with Romney -- as well as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman.

Search at Heuermann's home continues … Rangers preview … Rock of Ages Credit: Newsday

Updated now School budget vote ... Gilgo probe continues ... SBU students arraigned ... Overnight at the wineries

Search at Heuermann's home continues … Rangers preview … Rock of Ages Credit: Newsday

Updated now School budget vote ... Gilgo probe continues ... SBU students arraigned ... Overnight at the wineries

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