Wednesday update: Today, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal offers the following. "Barack Obama may be grabbing headlines overseas, but John McCain's campaign knew exactly how to grab a few of its own this week. His staff apparently encouraged a report that the Arizona senator was on the verge of stealing a march on Mr. Obama by announcing the name of his vice presidential running mate. Columnist Robert Novak reported that Mitt Romney was the most likely front-runner.
The report got the requisite attention and also may have been a useful trial balloon. But, so far, no veep announcement has been forthcoming and, indeed, one isn't likely before the GOP convention in late August. Mr. Novak now says his report may have been "a dodge" the McCain campaign planted to get some buzz.
"I got a suggestion from a very senior McCain aide . . . that he was going to announce it this week" and that the campaign "suggested I put it out." Mr. Novak says he now suspects "they were trying to get a little publicity to rain on Obama's campaign. That's pretty reprehensible if it's true."
But the Washington Times reports that "Mr. McCain and his top aides didn't seem to mind leaving the story unaddressed and unchecked." In fact, when reporters finally confronted him on his Straight Talk Express campaign plane, he played coy. "What do you want, you little jerks?" Mr. McCain said with a smile before waving off any questions.
Mr. McCain used to be lionized by the national media before Barack Obama came around and became the new, new thing. Now the Arizona senator is reduced to fighting for attention any which way he can. On the issue of his VP choice, chalk up one slightly ugly media victory for Team McCain."
Over at Human Events, Robert Novak says "Sources say McCain Veep Pick to Come This Week
And at CNN, we have this
: "One source tells CNN that “no decision has been made” by the candidate. Another says that some within the campaign are arguing to hold off until Obama has named his decision “so there is an opportunity to counter-program.” In any case, a campaign source adds, this does mean that the choice has been “narrowed” in McCain’s mind to the point where he could, if he were so inclined, spring a decision this week."
There's been a lot of talk about Mitt Romney lately, and there's no doubt that McCain could use the additional business and economics bona fides on the ticket. Still, McCain absolutely must get a good chunk of the middle to win and that means a good chunk of suburban women. Although Romney's good looks might get him a few votes, I still think his being a Mormon is a substantial negative, especially with women. Like it or not, most Americans know very little about the religion and the little they know strikes them as somewhere between non-mainstream, a bit odd, and a cult. Although Romney's religion would get less scrutiny with him as a VP choice than as the Presidential nominee, I still think Romney would be a very risky selection. I'm also not convinced that the personal distaste between the men from the presidential debates and nominating process has dissipated sufficiently for them to play well together.
McCain will certainly consider taking a woman for the reasons mentioned above, but if he does, he must make sure she's someone so exceptionally qualified that he doesn't appear to simply be pandering for the votes of women.
Over at intrade.com, Romney is the betting favorite, at about 36%, with a few possibilities trading between 10% and 15%: Starting at 15% and moving down to 10%, we have Sarah Palin (Governor of Alaska), Tim Pawlenty (Governor of Minnesota), Charlie Crist (Governor of Florida), and Bobby Jindal (Governor of Louisiana).
My guess is that Palin, while a woman, is not well known and is from Alaska and therefore doesn't bring enough electoral votes with her, especially since Alaska is unlikely to go Democrat anyway.
Pawlenty seems like a decent guy, but he can't even bring his own state.
Charlie Crist helped McCain substantially in getting the nomination and is from a very important state, so I think he's a likely choice.
Bobby Jindal would be the most daring choice, but I think choosing him would appear to be desperation to get someone who isn't white on the ticket. Also, although Jindal is absolutely excellent, given McCain's age people will be looking at McCain's VP choice as someone who really might become President, and I think Jindal will be perceived to be not quite ready for that yet.
Of the top 5 highest odds on intrade for McCain's likely choice, I think the best guess is Charlie Crist. I think Romney is great except for his religion, but I think that's too big a negative to overcome.