McCain's Veep speculation hits frenzy

Jake Turcotte

Didn't we just do this last week?

It looks like John McCain is rolling out his VP pick tomorrow.  No need for the fancy-schmancy texting, this one looks like a traditional roll-out.  In front of the cameras and in a key state - Ohio.

The official line from the McCain campaign?  Bland.  But this is expected.  It's how campaigns work.

McCain spokesman Ben Porritt offered, "McCain is going to pick a VP based on merit; a proven leader with sound judgment and well rounded experience that will give the public confidence that he/she is able to step in and govern at a moment's notice."

The excitement is over at the Drudge Report where they claim the Senator has made his decision and there could be a leak today at 6pm (ET) followed by a confirmation two hours later...

But that would be stepping on Obama's acceptance speech tonight.  They surely wouldn't do that, would they?

In the meantime, we'll run through the oft-talked about short-list.

Mr. Massachusetts

Mitt Romney's name has been brought up numerous times -- getting perhaps an audition at the Democratic National Convention in the role of attack dog earlier this week.

James Carville, a guest at yesterday's Christian Science Monitor-sponsored Breakfast, said Romney doesn't worry him too much.   Carville said the goal in the selection of a vice presidential candidate should be  to "make the opposing campaign manager throw up."

“I don’t think if they pick Romney, David Axelrod will reach for the trash can,” said Mr. Carville, referring to Senator Obama’s chief strategist.

Carville later said he predicts the choice will be a surprise candidate.

“McCain and I share something in common,” he said. “We’re both craps shooters. And just by nature, craps shooters always want to put their stack in the middle of the table.”

Don't move so fast

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is still mentioned - a lot - and it appears that he's auditioning today.

Pawlenty's message:  Obama's got no substance.

On Good Morning America today, he compared his experience to that of Obama's:

"I've been governor for six years and commander in chief of the Minnesota National Guard for six years," Pawlenty said. "When I was in the legislature I was also majority leader and did a variety of other things."

"His [Obama's] accomplishments are nonexistent or essentially nonexistent and he hasn't run anything," he continued.  "He hasn't been an executive or been in charge of anything and lastly, the big problem or one of the big problems facing our country is the ability to work across party lines and get things done. John McCain actually has a record in that regard. Barack Obama does not. He has good oratory but when you shut the teleprompter off there's not much else there."

On Fox and Friends, Pawlenty went straight to the talking point of "worldwide celebrity."

"It looks like they are getting ready for the emperor to arrive," he said.  "The facade is metaphor for production purposes, but there’s not much behind it. It’s the perfect metaphor for Barack Obama’s readiness to be President of the United States."

Two Joes?

As for Joe Lieberman, the buzz today is Politico's report that Karl Rove has actively sought to have Lieberman's name thrown out of the running.

"Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.)  late last week and urged him to contact John McCain to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration, according to three sources familiar with the conversation."

Rove denies this was true.

Jonathan Martin, the reporter who broke the news, has since written a follow-up  where he cited a conversation between Rove and FOX News.

"Uh. Look, I'm not going to get into who I call and don't call," Rove said. "But this report that I called Sen. Lieberman and told him, 'You call Sen. McCain and withdraw from the vice presidential' is incorrect. "

To which Martin responded, "I stand by my reporting."

What if it is Lieberman?  The Washington Times reports that an organization that pushes for conservative judges - the Committee for Justice -- have come up with a special plan that could make conservatives stomach the selection.

They offer three steps he could take to assuage conservatives' fears he would push for pro-choice, liberal judges: Recuse himself from helping McCain pick judges, promise not to run for president himself, and agree to caucus for the rest of the year with Republicans.

Get out the duct tape

As for Ridge, another pro-choice possibility, U.S. News & World Report today writes that he was the son of a meat salesman.

If that's not enough, there is more.  The Associated Press is reporting that McCain on a talk show in Pittsburgh spoke "glowingly" of the former Governor.

"He's a great American and a great and dear friend and I rely on him and I have for many years," McCain said.


As for bland, McCain at least added a little color to the overwhelming blandness musing that he may pick actor Wilford Brimley.

"He's a former marine and great guy and he's older than I am, so that might work," he said.

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