Speculation has been swirling that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been selected as Sen. John McCain’s choice for running mate, giving him a force among women and younger voters. Palin has been credited with reforms in her state.
DENVER | John McCain and other Republicans have been masterful this week at inserting themselves into Barack Obama’s Democratic National Convention, repeatedly stealing part of the limelight with hard-hitting ads, an aggressive effort to court disaffected Clinton supporters and tantalizing visits by possible Republican vice-presidential candidates.
Mr. McCain had narrowed his list to a handful of possibilities: Former rival Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as well as wildcard Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democrats’ 2000 vice-presidential nominee who is now an independent.
The nominee was to be called late Thursday and an announcement was set for Friday.
The mere suggestion that the name of the nominee might leak before or during Mr. Obama’s acceptance speech last night had top strategists playing defense during the day, firing off charges at any number of the possible selections.
The guessing game also kept the cable television networks busy, taking away from time that otherwise would have been devoted to covering Mr. Obama’s speech before 75,000 spectators in Denver.
Mr. McCain also released a commercial congratulating Mr. Obama, stealing yet more attention.
“How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight, Senator, job well done,” Mr. McCain said in the spot, referring to the anniversary Thursday of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
It was just the latest in a masterful manipulation of the press demonstrated by Mr. McCain and Republicans, who released daily Web videos and television commercials playing up a split between Mr. Obama and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. Those were replayed repeatedly on cable news, earning television time that otherwise would have gone to Democrats.
“Note to Cable Networks: The only time McCain’s Clinton-themed ads are running is when they’re included in your programming,” Tommy Vietor, an Obama campaign spokesman, said in an e-mail fired off to reporters, citing a report that the McCain campaign has been giving the ads limited airtime, relying instead on news programs to give them play.
With his vice-presidential pick still to come, Mr. McCain has a chance to instantly suck the oxygen away from Mr. Obama and his convention speech.
He settled on his nominee Thursday and was scheduled to campaign with the pick Friday in Dayton, Ohio.
The senator from Arizona also plans to have several of those on his shortlist, such as Mr. Romney and Mr. Ridge, campaign with him in Pennsylvania on Saturday - part of a unity tour leading up to next week’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.