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Thursday, August 28, 2008

John McCain Chooses His Veep... Or Does He?

Initial reports yesterday claimed that John McCain had chosen his vice presidential running mate, which he is expected to announce Friday at 12 a.m. ET in Dayton Ohio. Today John McCain refuted those reports claiming he has not chosen his candidate yet.
Speculation of late has largely centered around three men, Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

Initial reports that came out yesterday said that John McCain had chosen his vice presidential running mate and his choice was only known to a small circle of advisers which included three or four people, all of which refused to discuss the matter publicly.

Lieberman, former Democrat turned Independent has been high on the list of those speculated about, because of the long friendship between the two men and the mutual respect and affection the two Senators who have worked together for years have for one another, but according to the New York Times, some Republicans feel that pushing Lieberman to the forefront is a disinformation campaign geared toward keeping the choice under wraps until he decides to make his announcement.

There are even reports, via The Politico, that Republican strategist Karl Rove, President Bush’s former top campaign adviser, had tried to kill Lieberman as McCain's vice presidential pick by calling Lieberman and asking him to withdraw his name from the possibilities. A request that was reported to have been denied.

More disinformation?

Yesterday and today, The Politico and CNN had also reported that McCain had chosen his running mate but would not announce his decision until at least Friday.

The difficulties of keeping the name of the person chosen were highlighted last week when Barack Obama made his choice which ended up being Joe Biden, and after multiple false reports, the dispatching of a Secret Service detail sent to protect Biden the night before the text messages and emails were sent to supporters, ended up assuring that the media was able to report and confirm Obama's choice before his supporters who had signed up to be "the first to know".

Disputing those reports of the Veep running mate being chosen already, MSNBC reports that McCain told KDKA NewsRadio early this morning "I haven't decided yet so I can't tell you."

Then, perhaps to throw reporters off the trail, he spoke in glowing terms of Governor Tom Ridge who was previously said to be ruled out after the Republican National Committee had told Fox News that McCain had "got the message" after floating the names of pro-choice candidates.

Several sources at the RNC told FOX News that in the last 36 hours, senior McCain advisers and aides have told RNC officials that McCain “got the message” last week that choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights would not be helpful.

McCain is due to announce his Veep running mate choice Friday which is his 72nd birthday. The announcement will be made at a basketball arena in Dayton, Ohio, at 12 a.m. ET.

The Political Ticker OH has issued a challenge to their readers, listing the names of printing plants in the area under the assumption the McCain campaign will need signs with the name of his vice presidential pick on them, and challenges readers to "find John McCain's running mate".

Besides being McCain's birthday, Friday is also the day after the Democratic Convention ends, with Obama's acceptance speech due to be given tonight at the Invesco Field, and the McCain campaign hopes to limit the potential "bounce" for Obama which traditionally follows a candidate's being officially nominated as the candidate to run as president against the opposing party's candidate.

In previous years there was generally two weeks between the Democratic and Republican Conventions, time enough for for reports to center on one campaign, the convention, the crowning of a candidate officially and their acceptance speech which usually causes a rise in polling numbers.

This year there are only three days between the end of the Democratic Convention and the beginning of the Republican Convention and with polling, from organizations such as Gallup and others, showing none of the expected bounce for Obama since the start of the Democratic Convention, the McCain campaign is hoping to keep it that way by choosing the day following Obama's acceptance speech to announce his own Veep, thereby keeping the news cycle focused on his campaign for the weekend and then again with the wall-to-wall media coverage the conventions give them the week of the event.

Did the McCain campaign learn from how the news of Obama's vice presidential running mate leaked and how do they plan to avoid the same type of preemptive reporting and confirming of the person chosen?

(Correction made to this post)