On the Trail: ANY DAY NOW

Running mates? The pace is picking up

August 19, 2008|Stuart Silverstein

Speculation about the Democratic and Republican vice presidential candidates, and the timing of the announcements, reached a fever pitch Monday in the news media and among politics junkies.

Even with the Democratic convention coming up in a week, most indications were that Barack Obama would wait until at least Thursday to disclose his choice. There was no official comment from the Obama camp.

Much of the chatter focused on three possible picks: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh. But Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Obama's chief rival in the Democratic primaries, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, were also bandied about as potential contenders.

On the Republican side, the talk was ignited by a report on the Politico website, citing "Republican sources," that John McCain would name his running mate at a huge rally in the battleground state of Ohio on Aug. 29, the day after the Democratic convention ends.

That timing would excite the imagination of many a political consultant. McCain could snatch post-Democratic convention attention away from Obama and quickly shift the spotlight to the GOP convention, which begins three days later. It also could crowd out discussion of McCain's age on a day that happens to be his birthday. He'll be turning 72.

As for the potential GOP running mates, the same names keep coming up: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, along with riskier possibilities, namely, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000.

Late Monday, upon arriving in New Orleans, McCain merely waved to reporters on the tarmac when they shouted a question about whether he was announcing his running mate in Ohio on Aug. 29.

On the campaign plane, McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan also brushed aside the question.

"We don't comment on the process. Stay tuned," she said with a grin.

-- Stuart Silverstein

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