McCain to Announce Veep August 29th

The news story:

…McCain plans to celebrate his 72nd birthday on Aug. 29 by naming his running mate at a huge rally in the battleground state of Ohio, Republican sources said.

That’s a week from Friday, and the day after his rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, accepts the Democratic nomination at a 70,000-person spectacular in a Denver stadium.

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.

Friends say he has yet to make a final decision, and is not expected to do so until after Sen. Barack Obama announces his choice.

That last bit is probably correct – its better for McCain to wait until Obama’s pick is known that way both the VP nominee and the manner of presentation can be geared for maximum positive effect. Other than that, I really don’t have a clue whom McCain will pick…I still have my slight hopes of Palin (yes, I’d still love Jindal, but I want to “save” him for 2012 or 2016), but McCain has kept this so close to the vest that I doubt more than one or two of his closest aides really know where he’s going.

My only worry was the trial balloons McCain was floating on a pro-choice VP…its not that any pro-choice GOPer is absolutely unacceptable, but that such a choice would put at risk the growing, yet still fragile, conservative movement support for McCain, espcially amongst conservative Catholics and Evangelicals. In the end, of course, the VP pick is only of marginal importance – there aren’t that many voters, if any, who will merely vote based on the VP nominee, but for both candidates the VP selection is important in what it will say about the men, themselves. Public perception will decide this race – and the man the public perceives as the most “Presidential” will win – so the VP pick won’t secure victory, but combined with other things it can go a long way towards helping a candidate to defeat.