Obama's VP pick - predictions, Internet hoaxes and guarantees

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All the talk this morning is about the upcoming VP selection. Around the Internet, hysterics ensued yesterday when a New York Times article proclaimed that Barack Obama had determined his running mate. Determined, perhaps. Announced, not yet.

There was some hysteria over on the GOP side as well when Mike Allen's headline over at Politico screamed that August 29 would be the day John McCain announces his forthcoming saddle pal.

But since we've got over a week to go through the endless reasons why a Tim Pawlenty selection would signal to some pundits that McCain is obviously not concerned with conservative cross-dressing anarchists in southern North Dakota, we'll keep focused on Obama and his upcoming pick.

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The Obama road show

The soon-to-be Democratic nominee is in Florida and North Carolina today. Virginia tomorrow. Then the week opens up for an all out love fest for the happy ticket in determined battleground states.

So who is going to be traveling with Obama? The names on the short lists have remained pretty constant.

It's Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Although Kansas Governor Kathy Sebelius is still a mention and former rival Senator Hillary Clinton is considered a longshot but a favorite of many. Incredibly, FOX News includes Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as a possible selection.

Then you hear from those "close" to the Senator and those "close" to the campaign and those "close" to advisers who know people in the campaign and those "close" to the guy who works at Dunkin' Donuts who lives a block down the street from a guy whose sister used to date a lounge singer who watches Hardball a lot. And they'll all tell you why they know who the selection will be.

Early predictors

Who got it first four years ago? An airline mechanic.

Bryan Smith, a US Airways mechanic, arrived at work on June 5, 2004, the day before Kerry gathered reporters at his wife's estate near Pittsburgh and formally announced that Edwards was his No. 2. As Smith told NPR, he was passing through a hangar at the Pittsburgh airport to get to his work area "when I was informed by, I am assuming, Mr. Kerry's people that I should not peek in that hangar and that it was, in fact, closed for the day."
So he did what you would have done: Every time he passed through that hangar that day, he took a look.
"Around 6 that evening, I peeked in and saw they were putting John Edwards' name on the airplane," he said. "They concealed it rather quickly -- they taped paper over the logos. I just happened to peek in at the right time."

He said although he posted the information in an aviation chat room, the mainstream media didn't pick it up. Perhaps the media will all be monitoring these forums intently over the next 36 - 48 hours.

Or you can look at more traditional clues. Who is getting mentioned by the candidate?

Delaware's Joe Biden

Obama did mention Joe Biden this morning.

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Orlando, Obama said he was "proud to join my friend, Senator Joe Biden, in calling for an additional one billion dollars in reconstruction assistance for the people of Georgia."

Add this, according to one pundit at CNN, to the fact that "Biden has been uncharacteristcally quiet recently" and we've got what the pundit calls a "counter-clue" to the more noisy Evan Bayh.

Let's see if we can't get something a little more solid. MSNBC's Howard Fineman this morning said he had conversations with those who were actually vetted by the search committee:

My bottom line is this: Barring a big surprise or last-minute change of heart, the choice is likely to be Sen. Joe Biden of Deleware, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is a lively and feisty if unpredictable campaigner with working-class roots and a street-level feel for the hot spots of the globe — which he can use to go toe-to-toe with Sen. John McCain.

He goes on to say that one of the finalists for the VP slot would bet his life on the Biden pick.

Just in case Fineman is off target, we can look at last week's Sunday shows for clues. These shows they say are auditions for the big job. And if that's the case we're looking at Evan Bayh, Tim Kaine and Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Assuming that Obama was unable to convince Saakashvili to join his ticket and subsequently bend the constitution to allow it, we'll look at the first two selections.

Virginia's Tim Kaine

Folks down in Richmond are ruling out their own Governor because of a rumor of a planned stop in Chester, Virginia. The event is closed to the public.

You wouldn't think that a Presidential nominee would be holding closed events if he's just announced his VP candidate, would you? You'd think the more cheering people, the more waving signs and banners, the better, as the candidates are running toward their convention in Denver next week? What good would a closed event be for publicity and momentum?

However, the TV blog that reported the Chester rumor will continue to monitor this in case it is all a smokescreen. Stay tuned.

Indiana's Evan Bayh

As for the oft-discussed Senator from Indiana? Bloggers on the left continue not to like him. The so-called "100,000 Strong Against Evan Bayh for VP" group on Facebook (the group really only has 3,853 members - but who's counting) received a lot of press last week.

As for news this morning, it looks like Bayh is being mentioned in an Internet hoax is making the rounds. Someone over at the conservative Free Republic posted an alleged screenshot of CNN that they claim accidentally made it up on the news network's site announcing Senator Bayh's selection.

Gotta love what the always-enjoyable Oliver Berkman at the Guardian's U.S. campaign site said of the screenshot in question:

If it really is [authentic], I'll eat my own face, but the tale it relates deserves points for being imaginative. Sadly it loses them for being full of spelling errors and ridiculously bad writing, and for using the wrong font.

Keep your blackberries handy. Obama's text is coming soon.

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