According to a report posted online this morning, John McCain plans to name his running mate on Aug. 29, which happens to be his 72nd birthday — and, not coincidentally, the day after Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination.
The report, attributed to unnamed Republican sources by the Politico, emphasized the fact that McCain has kept virtually everyone in the dark about his choice, but referred to Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as “prime contenders.”
The report goes on to say:
The campaign has begun building a crowd of 10,000 for Dayton, Ohio, according to an organizer. McCain is scheduled to appear with his running mate at a large-scale event in Pennsylvania shortly thereafter.
Senior Republicans are in the dark about who he’ll name, although they say former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are prime contenders after a trial balloon by McCain gave him very negative feedback about the idea of picking an abortion-rights running mate such as Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and the first secretary of homeland security.
Sources close to McCain say he has wrestled with the choice, torn between a high-stakes, high-reward pick like Ridge or Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman — the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000 — or a safer and more conventional selection such as Romney or Pawlenty….
The announcement strategy — provided McCain doesn’t change it — calls for naming the pick early Friday morning to try to suppress Obama’s bounce coming out of his convention.
“You’re going to own the weekend,” a McCain official said.
The Republican convention begins the following Monday — Labor Day — in St. Paul, Minn.
Update: More tea-leaf reading on the veepstakes, courtesy of MSNBC’s Chuck Todd:
“The growing Republican CW is twofold. One, Pawlenty appears to be the safest pick, given that one no one is vetoing him. And two, McCain is more likely than Obama to upend the CW with his decision.”
Later update: The Associated Press is reporting that Pawlenty is heading back on the road to stump for McCain.
Prospective vice presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is gearing up for a weekend campaign swing in Ohio and Pennsylvania on behalf of Republican John McCain.
Minnesota’s GOP governor says he’s heading to the two important battleground states to give speeches and rally McCain supporters. Pawlenty has been on the road for McCain much of the summer, including Monday in Wisconsin.
He refuses to answer questions about his possible place on McCain’s ticket. Pawlenty says he might travel to Denver next week as a McCain surrogate during the Democratic National Convention. No details on that trip have been firmed up.