Veep Watch: Pawlenty? Jindal?

Ever since Bob Novak wrote a column saying that the McCain campaign would make a decision this week on the Vice Presidential running mate, speculation has been building. Romney figured prominently but he is reportedly out of the country. And early announcement would seem to preclude him.

Then the candidate himself was heard extolling the virtues of Minnesota governor Tom Pawlenty in a most
effusive manner
It's VP tea leaf reading season, and a Republican source who attended a small private meeting with John McCain Tuesday in New Hampshire tells CNN that the GOP candidate dropped a serious hint about Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The Republican source said "out of the blue" McCain told the gathering that he thinks they are "really going to like" Pawlenty.
This GOP source noted that McCain also said nice things about Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, but those appeared to be standard lines he says about former rivals.

This source said McCain may have been talking about Pawlenty because the meeting was with New Hampshire GOP delegates, and the Republican convention is in Pawlenty's state.

But this source said McCain's praise was effusive, and noteworthy because it appeared to come "totally out of left field."


Pawlenty pluses: Young, smart, good campaigner, adequate speaker, familiar with bread and butter economic issues, and despite big lead for Obama, may be able to bring Minnesota into Republican column.

Minuses: Unknown, moderate, not charismatic, little foreign policy experience, Minnesota out of play anyway.

And don't count Bobby Jindal out quite yet. Even though the new Louisiana governor has said repeatedly he's not interested, perhaps McCain can
persuade him otherwise:

Mystery continues to surround Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's plans to interrupt a tour of battleground states today for a visit to New Orleans and a meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Campaign officials confirm that McCain will fly to New Orleans tonight but declined to give any more details about the visit. The trip attracted even more attention after a nationally syndicated columnist reported that McCain planned to name his running mate this week, sparking speculation that Jindal is a finalist.

McCain deflected the question Tuesday when asked whether was going to make an announcement this week.

Jindal Pluses: Young, excellent speaker, charismatic, mixed race, son of immigrants, adequate campaigner, fair knowledge of the issues.

Minuses: Too young. too inexperienced, Louisiana is safe, lacking foreign policy cred, too soon.

The above does not mean that McCain won't try for him if he thinks he needs him to win. Many sins can be forgiven if it can be shown that a candidate will give you a better chance to win.

Would Jindal take it? I would be disappointed if he did. This is a Democratic year and even if McCain chose him, the odds are right now the ticket would go down to defeat. Jindal would like to make his own run someday and it would be better if he didn't have a loss hanging around his neck when he did.

Pawlenty before Jindal. Romney before Pawlenty. I think we're looking at the final three choices right there. At least, that's how I see it.
Ever since Bob Novak wrote a column saying that the McCain campaign would make a decision this week on the Vice Presidential running mate, speculation has been building. Romney figured prominently but he is reportedly out of the country. And early announcement would seem to preclude him.

Then the candidate himself was heard extolling the virtues of Minnesota governor Tom Pawlenty in a most
effusive manner
It's VP tea leaf reading season, and a Republican source who attended a small private meeting with John McCain Tuesday in New Hampshire tells CNN that the GOP candidate dropped a serious hint about Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The Republican source said "out of the blue" McCain told the gathering that he thinks they are "really going to like" Pawlenty.
This GOP source noted that McCain also said nice things about Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, but those appeared to be standard lines he says about former rivals.

This source said McCain may have been talking about Pawlenty because the meeting was with New Hampshire GOP delegates, and the Republican convention is in Pawlenty's state.

But this source said McCain's praise was effusive, and noteworthy because it appeared to come "totally out of left field."


Pawlenty pluses: Young, smart, good campaigner, adequate speaker, familiar with bread and butter economic issues, and despite big lead for Obama, may be able to bring Minnesota into Republican column.

Minuses: Unknown, moderate, not charismatic, little foreign policy experience, Minnesota out of play anyway.

And don't count Bobby Jindal out quite yet. Even though the new Louisiana governor has said repeatedly he's not interested, perhaps McCain can
persuade him otherwise:

Mystery continues to surround Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's plans to interrupt a tour of battleground states today for a visit to New Orleans and a meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Campaign officials confirm that McCain will fly to New Orleans tonight but declined to give any more details about the visit. The trip attracted even more attention after a nationally syndicated columnist reported that McCain planned to name his running mate this week, sparking speculation that Jindal is a finalist.

McCain deflected the question Tuesday when asked whether was going to make an announcement this week.

Jindal Pluses: Young, excellent speaker, charismatic, mixed race, son of immigrants, adequate campaigner, fair knowledge of the issues.

Minuses: Too young. too inexperienced, Louisiana is safe, lacking foreign policy cred, too soon.

The above does not mean that McCain won't try for him if he thinks he needs him to win. Many sins can be forgiven if it can be shown that a candidate will give you a better chance to win.

Would Jindal take it? I would be disappointed if he did. This is a Democratic year and even if McCain chose him, the odds are right now the ticket would go down to defeat. Jindal would like to make his own run someday and it would be better if he didn't have a loss hanging around his neck when he did.

Pawlenty before Jindal. Romney before Pawlenty. I think we're looking at the final three choices right there. At least, that's how I see it.