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McCain may be re-adjusting veep search

(Credit: Politirazzi)

Romney's riches may make him ill-suited to be McCain's VP. "Sam's Club Republican" Pawlenty is looking like a more realistic choice, Bragg writes.

By Bragg

I absolutely believe Obama's choice of Biden could influence McCain's ultimate VP choice. The harder question to answer, though, is exactly how it might influence his choice, and to what degree.

One could argue that picking the safe, relatively bland Biden presents an opportunity for McCain to do what Obama didn't: Turn conventional wisdom on its ear with a bold, unexpected and (hopefully) inspired choice.

Further, with Obama not taking Hillary Clinton or Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, McCain also has to consider the impact he could have by selecting a woman as his running mate. The problem, though, is that many of the individuals who fall into one or both of the aforementioned categories (e.g. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina) are less experienced than Biden and less tested on the national stage.

(continued) The concern then would be how they would fare in the vice presidential debate, and more importantly, if they would be ready to be president were something to happen to McCain. (McCain's age and health history make the "heartbeat away from the presidency" aspect of his choice more important than it was for Obama).

McCain's gaffe after being asked how many houses he and his wife owned (though slightly misinterpreted and certainly blown way out of proportion — it's a big gaffe nonetheless) might have single-handedly eliminated Mitt Romney's chances for the veep slot. Just imagine the ads that the Obama campaign could run about the "two rich guys" on the GOP ticket, one of whom can't recall how many houses he has (or so the narrative goes), the other a multi-, multi-millionaire.

This would seem to boost the odds of McCain choosing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who hails from a blue-collar background and touts himself (accurately) as a "Sam's Club Republican". But would the relatively green Pawlenty be able to hold his own against Biden in a debate?

At the end of the day, I don't know that the vice presidential debate has terribly significant implications on the election. I think, therefore, that Pawlenty becomes the most likely person chosen, but less due to Obama's choice of Biden and more because of McCain's unfortunate gaffe last week. For a party typically portrayed/viewed as "out of touch", a little blue collar, middle class "street cred" may go a long way, and as the very self-made son of a truck driver, Pawlenty probably best fits the bill.

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