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RealClearPolitics VP Watch

RCP Staff

August 29, 2008

On the Announcement Timing

Media coverage of Obama's speech will return, but now we can see the McCain campaign's full strategy with the running-mate rollout. Part of it has to do with when, but more importantly, it also has to do with who. Had McCain chosen Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, the announcement will likely still have dominated today's coverage. But the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate have been so thoroughly documented, and their selection so foreordained, that the media would have met it, if not with a yawn, than with a lack of enthusiasm.

Sarah Palin is a different kind of candidate. She's been analyzed as a running mate, yes, but not so thoroughly as the others. In other words, pundits weren't already blue in the face talking about her. Even her weaknesses, and they are considerable, are exciting: How will Palin match up against Joe Biden; will Palin's firing scandal be an issue; what about her experience?

Moreover, it's what Palin's selection says about how the McCain campaign is thinking about this race, and how it intends to win it, that is equally as fascinating. She mentioned the "18 million cracks" in the ceiling; she actually had Republicans applauding Hillary Clinton. Just when this race couldn't get more exciting, the McCain campaign has pumped a megadose of adrenaline into it. Again, neither Romney nor Pawlenty could not have done that.

So now we know why the campaign was so meticulous is keeping this one a secret up until an hour before it introduced her to the world. The Obama campaign, known for its discipline, must be looking on in admiration today, even as they fire up the oppo research team. Score one for the McCain team. Eyes will be on St. Paul.

I wrote before that the timing wasn't going to be a big deal in the end. It still may not be, in the larger scheme. But I also was assuming that McCain would go with a conventional pick, like Romney or Pawlenty. But I admit that if Palin's name had leaked yesterday, it would have had less impact.

Obama Camp Responds

From spokesman Bill Burton:

Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same.

So much for a grace period.


It's official. Fox News' Carl Cameron just reported that the McCain campaign has confirmed that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the running mate. More as it comes in.


John McCain will introduce Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate at an event here at noon Friday, senior campaign sources confirmed to FOX News.

Palin emerged earlier in the day as the hot name in the vice presidential sweepstakes after reports circulated that two short-listers -- Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty -- were out of the running.

Adding fuel to the Palin candidacy was a report that a charter aircraft from Anchorage owned by a McCain supporter had arrived at a small airport outside Dayton, Ohio, where McCain has scheduled a noon ET rally to announce his choice.

FOX News reported the jet flew to Flagstaff, Ariz., on Thursday before heading landing in Middletown, Ohio.

CNBC: It's Palin

John Harwood is reporting:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a self-styled "hockey mom" who has only been governor for a little over a year, is GOP Presidential candidate John McCain's choice for Vice President, CNBC has learned.

According to a Republican strategist, Palin is the nominee, though McCain's campaign has not comfirmed this.

With an announcement scheduled in Dayton, Ohio, an associate of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the governor had been informed he is not McCain's pick.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for Pawlenty, who had all but ruled himself out.

Again, we can only give this marginal credibility, but the winds seem to be blowing in Palin's direction -- wherever she is.

Where Is Sarah Palin?

ABC News is reporting that Palin is still in Alaska, at least according to her spokesman:

The Governor's spokesperson, Sharon Leighow, tells ABC News she's going to the State Fair in Anchorage, Alaska.

Fox: Mitt Romney Out

Fox News' Carl Cameron is reporting that Mitt Romney is out of the veepstakes. Romney, reports Cameron, will not be in Dayton today. "He will not be the pick," said Cameron on Fox and Friends.

Is Palin In Dayton?

There are rumors that Sarah Palin has arrived in Dayton based on flight information of a Gulfstream jet arriving from Anchorage.

Huck Says He's Out

So he writes on his blog:

I have never been asked for any information, background, etc., so as I have said repeatedly in interviews, I didn't consider myself to be under any consideration. I think people thought I was being coy and just not talking, but I have built my political life on trying to shoot straight and tell it as it is and as I see it. I have been honest in telling you that I had no reason to believe I was ever seriously considered or "vetted" for the ticket.

Pawlenty's Out...Probably

From the Minnesota Star Tribune:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty told WCCO radio this morning that he is not the nominee.

The governor told the station's Eric Eskola during a 6:25 a.m. live telephone interview:

"I will not be in Dayton, Ohio."

He said he plans to be at the state fair for his radio show at 9 a.m.

"All I can say is that I'm not going to be there (in Dayton)." However, he didn't say directly that he is not the the nominee.

"I plan to be at the State Fair," he said. "You can draw your conclusions from that."

And that's certainly what we're all doing.

August 28, 2008

McCain: No Authorized Leaking

Fox News just reported that there would be no authorized leaking of the vp candidate tonight in deference to Obama's speech. Put up a link when I can get one.

Redstate: It's Pawlenty

This isn't confirmed, but RedState's Erick Erickson reports the following:

A source close to the campaign now confirms for me that it "more likely than not" is Pawlenty. He does, however, caution me that the campaign does not actually want to leak tonight lest the Obama camp get too much of a chance to play the victim card with a sympathetic media.

Whitman Buzz

First Romney, then Pawlenty, then Romney again, now Meg Whitman.

A Traditional Pick

Martin on the story:

In a strong sign that John McCain has not selected Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, Republican members of Congress were told today by McCain's campaign that the Arizona senator would tap a traditional No. 2, according to a GOP source.

The source said that would indicate that McCain has tapped either Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty.

Is Romney Out?

Tensions are so high right now that if one of these candidates sneezes funny, it'll get a headline. In any case, consider this from the Confabulum Blog:

A well-placed source has confirmed that Mitt Romney no longer understands himself to be in consideration for the Republican nomination for Vice President. When asked where he'll be tomorrow, Romney revealed that he planned to be in Massachusetts. When pressed for a clarification -- as to whether that remark constituted an artful prevarication -- Romney declared that it did not. Further, one of Romney's senior advisors has verified that if he put it thus, it's true.


The Latest

Drudge is blasting the news that McCain might leak his running mate at 6PM Eastern, with confirmation from the campaign at 8PM. Jonathan Martin spoke with an Obama aide, who said the campaign is none too happy with this rumor:

"Tonight would be political malpractice," Obama communications chief Dan Pfeiffer told Politico. "It's one more piece of evidence that the McCain campaign is a war room masquerading as a presidential campaign."

Pfeiffer did, however, call McCain's bluff.

"If they do it, I will pay all of McCain's mortgages next month," he quipped.

As Drudge would say, developing...