- The Washington Times - Friday, August 22, 2008

It’s for him to know and us to find out.

Playing it coy, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama revealed Thursday he had made his decision on a vice-presidential running mate - but was keeping the choice to himself, at least until Friday or Saturday.

With the Democratic convention opening in Denver in just three days, the vice-presidential sweepstakes is the biggest box left for Mr. Obama to check before accepting the nomination.

Top contenders include Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana, along with Govs. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas and Tim Kaine of Virginia. Some handicappers say Mr. Obama’s primary rival, Sen. Hillary Rodman Clinton of New York, is among those who still have an outside shot.

Mr. Obama Thursday said that he had made his choice, but declined to elaborate.

Pressed by reporters later at a campaign stop at a peanut-and-gift shot in Emporia, Va., the Illinois Democrat continued the tease. “I made my selection and that’s all you’re going to get,” he vowed.

The mystery pick is almost certain to be revealed by the time Mr. Obama appears at a campaign rally Saturday in Springfield, Ill. The two standard-bearers then will embark on a four-state campaign trip ahead of the Denver convention.

In a first, the Obama campaign says it will reveal the vice-presidential choice by “blast-text” - promising supporters who sign up for the campaign’s text-messaging alerts that they will be “among the first to know” the selection when Mr. Obama goes public.

With the nominee playing it close to the vest, analysts have been reduced to checking the official schedules of the potential picks to see if any have booked flights to Springfield.

Mr. Kaine told reporters he’s traveling to Denver on Friday to begin a family vacation in advance of the convention, suggesting he has not yet been summoned to the kick-off rally.

News-starved reporters covering Mr. Obama have taken to texting their own fake vice-presidential announcements to the BlackBerrys and cell phones of campaign staffers, with “Baby Suri” - the daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes - among the early favorites.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report from Emporia, Va.