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But someone else could really cash in on the dramatic moment.

“John McCain is the one who might benefit from the jolt that comes from launching a running mate. While Obama is trying to brand McCain as nothing more than an older George Bush, the right running mate could help McCain break symbolically from the White House. It could elevate the excitement around McCain’s campaign and possibly energize fundraisers.

“And McCain isn’t hearing the sort of gripes and grumbles from the camps of vanquished rivals that continue to haunt Barack Obama. He doesn’t need to hold a headline in reserve.”

Days of yore

Today is Jack Kemp’s birthday, born in Los Angeles in 1935.

It also marks the anniversary of the Northwest Ordinance, enacted by the Continental Congress in 1787, establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory. It also set forth procedures for the admission of new states and limited the expansion of slavery.

It is also the birthday of a Tinseltown icon. The “Hollywood” sign - now a registered trademark - was dedicated over the hills of Los Angeles in 1923. The sign originally read “Hollywoodland.” The last four letters were dropped in 1949.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washington or 202/636-3085.