The Washington Times - August 16, 2008, 06:30PM

LONG BEACH, Calif. “So, who’s going to be the VP pick?”



That’s the most common question I’m asked these days, from friends, family members, colleagues and even someone I sat next to as I ate dinner in Chicago last night.


The answer I give is that it’s anyone’s guess.


Of course I have hunches, and maybe it’s crazy to believe what Sen. Barack Obama told us on June 5 - “The next time you hear from me about the vice-presidential selection process will be when I have selected a vice president.”


But maybe not. The campaign is good at keeping secrets, both large and small. Fundraising numbers are no longer leaked to reporters ahead of time, and big endorsements that get out are usually the product of the other person talking or enterprising reporters reading the tea leaves.


There are lots of clues that point in different directions, some valid, some laughable.


For hours yesterday, Drudge hyped a piece speculating that Sen. John Kerry could be the man.



That’s doubtful, though the future VP nominee’s spokesman is David Wade, who until recently worked for Kerry. But there are a ton of Kerry people working for Obama, so it could be just a coincidence.


I can venture a guess that Obama won’t pick Sen. Evan Bayh, despite all the rumors, because the liberal blogosphere has lit up with intensive criticism and people blasting and rallying against the Indiana senator as a potential choice.


They even started a “100,000 strong against Evan Bayh for VP” group, which now has more than 3,500 members and states:


Obama’s judgment about the war was the central tenet of the best arguments for his earning the Democratic nomination.

Choosing Evan Bayh, who fell hook, line, and sinker for the administration’s case for a disastrous war and dragged much of our party with him, would undermine one of Obama’s major advantages.

The Obama campaign will be deciding its VP in the next day or two - they may have already, but if they haven’t, they are listening for feedback from people like us. This is a moment where we could really make a difference.

Let’s grow this group to 100,000 in a day and send a clear message to the Obama campaign that Evan Bayh is not the right choice for Vice President.


Marc Ambinder has sources saying there’s an Obama event in Richmond being planned for Thursday, which of course raises red flags that Obama may be picking Gov. Tim Kaine for his running mate.


Kaine has one event on his public schedule Thursday, a speech for the launch of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s new “Checkpoint Strikeforce” campaign. That’s at 1:30 in nearby Mechanicsville. (For those keeping score at home, Kaine is on “Meet the Press” Sunday while Bayh is on “Face the Nation.”)


More intriguing: Sen. Joe Biden’s office announced he is “this weekend” going to Georgia amid its conflict with Russia.


Also, both Kerry and Biden are up for re-election to their Senate seats this year.


We’ll be doing two events Monday in New Mexico - home to a certain governor and former candidate who endorsed Obama early in the process. But under that rationale, consider that on Sunday we’ll be in Reno and San Francisco, so the VP could be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or California governor’s mansion-eyeing Mayor Gavin Newsom.


Other rumors are that he may be planning something for Friday in Chicago.


The campaign will be in North Carolina Tuesday and Martinsville, Va. on Wednesday (for a town hall with DNC keynoter-to-be Gov. Mark Warner) and has not released its public schedule beyond that. There is only one eyebrow-raising stop from what I’ve heard about the still-private schedule through the end of the week.


I’ve assigned an Obama ringtone to the campaign’s text message on the Berry so I don’t flip out every time I get a non-related text message. It’s kind of funny, actually, as a pre-recorded Obama chimes “Hi, I’m Barack Obama,” when the campaign sends me something.


Everyone remembers the Edwards announcement in ‘04 was leaked when someone saw his name being added to the plane. No chance of that happening here - the Obama plane doesn’t have his name. Instead it reads “Change you can believe in” and has his logo, which I’d wager would not change once he has a running mate.


Until we know, everything else is just a guess. One thing’s for certain - Obama will name the No. 2 before Wednesday night, Aug. 27. That’s when he (or she) will formally accept the Democratic nod at the convention.


We just landed in Southern California for the Saddleback Forum hosted by Rick Warren. Stephen Dinan is already here and will write the story about the event while I stay on Veep watch.


I have a short story up about Obama’s July fundraising - he raised more than $51 million from more than 65,000 new donors. He has $65.8 million in the bank, all of which he can spend through the Nov. 4 election.


McCain pulled in $27 million in July and has $21 million in the bank.


Read the full story here.


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times


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