Friday, August 29, 2008
Aug. 27: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is seen as a possible running mate selection.
DENVER — John McCain will wait until noon ET Friday to name his vice presidential running mate, senior campaign officials told FOX News.
They said no authorized leaks will go out overnight in deference to Barack Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night.
FOX News confirmed Thursday that McCain had made his selection. McCain was scheduled to appear with his choice at a noon rally in Dayton, Ohio on Friday.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a short-lister on the vice presidential selection sweeps, is expected to be in Dayton on Friday. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who like Romney was a former primary season rival to McCain, sent an e-mail to supporters on Thursday evening saying he will not be at the rally.
On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Tim Pawlenty returned from Denver to his home state of Minnesota, where the Republican National Convention will be held next week, and attended his daughter’s volleyball game during the evening. He said he planned to deliver his usual radio address at the state fair on Friday morning.
Speculation about McCain’s choice was ratcheted up earlier in the week when the McCain camp suggested it may not wait until the end of the Democratic National Convention in Denver to announce his running mate.
But McCain campaign officials said Thursday they decided to hold off because they want the stage to themselves next week when McCain gives his acceptance speech to the convention, and they believe both candidates deserve the opportunity to speak to the American people without being stepped on by their opponent.
The talk that McCain could make his announcement on the night Obama accepted his nomination was harshly criticized by the Obama campaign and other Democrats, who suggested McCain’s motive was to distract from Obama’s speech at Invesco Field.
“It won’t make much of a difference to struggling American families who John McCain chooses to be the next Dick Cheney if he continues to insist on being the next George Bush,” Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said in a statement that echoed the Obama campaign attack theme that McCain is more of the unpopular Bush administration.
Meanwhile, Romney met with donors throughout California on Thursday. His family was reportedly being given Secret Service security sweeps — prompting rumors he had been selected — though the Secret Service later denied that any sweeps had occurred.
McCain said in a Thursday morning radio interview with KDKA NewsRadio in Pittsburgh that he was bringing Romney and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, another short-lister, to a rally on Saturday in Pennsylvania. In the interview, McCain said he hadn’t yet decided on his running mate, but cautioned against assuming that either Romney or Ridge would be the pick.
Asked to hint which way he was leaning, McCain turned — as he has for days — to a joke, saying it would be actor Wilford Brimley.
“He’s a former Marine and great guy and he’s older than I am, so that might work,” said the four-term Arizona senator who turns 72 on Friday.
FOX News’ Carl Cameron and Trish Turner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.