McCain Veep Rumors: Right Now, It’s Anybody’s Guess
While the Democrats continue their convention in Denver, details are starting to leak out about John McCain’s anticipated announcement of his Vice-Presidential running mate.
For example, The Politico reports that the McCain Campaign will move quickly to shift the focus from Obama and the Democrats:
DENVER â€” John McCain is planning to rollout his vice-presidential nominee in three battleground states this weekend, with large-scale rallies planned for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri, according to aides and advisers.
The GOP nominee-in-waiting will move to immediately change the campaign conversation from Barack Obamaâ€™s football stadium acceptance speech Thursday to the new Republican ticket, to be revealed at a noontime Friday rally in a Dayton, Ohio, basketball arena. McCain and his running mate will then travel by bus to Pennsylvania, where theyâ€™ll hold an outdoor event at a minor league baseball stadium in Washington County, just southwest of Pittsburgh. On Sunday, the duo will head to suburban St. Louis for another event to be held at a minor league baseball stadium, this one in Oâ€™Fallon, Mo.
The Missouri rally is being billed to local Republicans as something of a unity rally, since it will feature McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee â€” the GOP presidential finalists who effectively divided the vote three ways in the Show Me Stateâ€™s Super Tuesday primary. A McCain aide warned not to read too much into McCainâ€™s planned guests, however.
The campaignâ€™s leadership has imposed a strict rule on staffers to not discuss the process and have further guarded the selection by parceling out very little information.
The decision, though, has been all but made, according to one top adviser.
Also, remember those rumors on Monday that McCain might announce his choice before Friday ? Well, Marc Ambinder reports that they may be true, and they may be a clue to who McCain might pick:
The prospect of a slightly earlier announcement has some Republicans worried that McCain has settled on Sen. Joe Lieberman., They assume that the campaign would not risk the bad form associated with jumping on Obama’s night if McCain announces a traditional pick, such as Gov. Mitt Romney or Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Several McCain advisers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, are actively pushing for Lieberman. Others, including many top fundraisers, are hoping that McCain chooses Gov. Mitt Romney. A smaller faction that includes some of McCain’s longest-serving advisers believe that Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota would be a better pick.
I’ve said more than once that Joe Lieberman would be a horrible pick for McCain (see here, here, here, and here)), and there’s a great column by Robert Novak this morning that sums all the arguments Lieberman up quite nicely:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reports of strong support within John McCain’s presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.
But they can’t get away with it — and this has been made clear to McCain by none other than Joe Lieberman himself.
Lieberman surely doesn’t know that much about Republican politics, but he has close Republican friends. One of them prevailed on Lieberman to tell McCain that a McCain-Lieberman ticket would be a disaster for all concerned, and especially for the GOP.
Actually, Lieberman is a heroic figure among Republicans for having risked his Senate seat to support President George W. Bush’s war policy. But aside from the war, he votes the straight liberal line, including pro-choice on abortion. Lieberman’s Republican friend told him that the Republicans would leave Minnesota in a state of disarray with a McCain-Lieberman ticket, alienating social conservatives who now make up the core of Republican voters.
If not Lieberman, then, who ?
Well, The Politico reports that the Biden pick may have changed McCain’s plans:
DENVER â€” Democrat Barack Obamaâ€™s selection of Joe Biden as a running mate is complicating Republican John McCainâ€™s analysis of his prospective vice presidential contenders.
Biden will make his formal debut Wednesday with a primetime address. McCain is expected to announce his pick after Obama accepts his nomination here on Thursday.
Some insiders are pressing McCain to make a strategic selection, one that beefs up his economic strength, enhances his chance to grab a state or amps up the partisan firepower.
â€œMcCain knows Biden well. He knows how good he is as a knife fighter. Heâ€™ll take McCain apart,â€ said one Republican operative.
Right now, though, the McCain camp is being so tight-lipped about the thought process here that it’s hard to say who has the upper hand. I still say that Mitt Romney is the smart choice for McCain, just like Biden was the smart choice for Obama, but with John McCain there’s always the possibility that he’ll do something unexpected that will piss everybody off.
Cross-posted at Below The Beltway