May 22nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Roberts: McCain firing up the grill...and his veep search?

McCain is hosting friends and potential VP candidates this weekend.
McCain is hosting friends and potential VP candidates this weekend.

(CNN) - Hidden Valley Ranch. It’s a famous salad dressing, and there’s plenty of talk that John McCain will be looking to dress up the fall ticket at his Sedona, Arizona property that bears the same name. He is assembling three potential running mates at Hidden Valley this weekend. It’s a chance to grill for some good political friends, his campaign insists, but there’s no question that in terms of election year optics, it sure looks like he’s seeing how well they play together in social situations.

McCain certainly loves to grill. Steak, chicken, ribs (though purists will say you smoke ribs). He once even fired up the bar-b-que for the boys and girls on the bus, hosting the traveling press corps one recent weekend. But is this Memorial Day grill-up really just a social event? One man who should know is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. He attended just such an event on February 29th. This morning Pawlenty told me his weekend was “largely social." I asked him “do you talk a lot of politics? Do you get a sense he’s feeling you out?” “Mostly what you see is John McCain in a relaxed setting," he said. Ha! “Largely” and “mostly”. So he IS kicking the tires on potential running mates!

Every four years we play this parlor game of ‘veepstakes.' But who does have what McCain wants and needs? Pawlenty offered some insight this morning.

“A governor," he said “would bring executive experience, domestic experience, health care reform” “Any decision will be based on geography and politics and credentials."

Pawlenty has one important credential for McCain – he’s considered the most conservative governor of Minnesota since the 20’s. That’s good for a candidacy that conservatives still haven’t fully signed on to. And he’s good on economics, balancing Minnesota’s deficit-ridden budget without raising taxes. Could he deliver the ‘land of 10,000 lakes’ to McCain this year? Pawlenty says “in recent times, we’ve had some success with Republicans winning statewide”, but he acknowledges history is against him. Minnesota has been blue since JFK was elected. Heck, it’s the one state Walter Mondale managed to win in 1984.

Most of the veepstakes action has focused on governors, the more famous names like Pawlenty, Romney, Huntsman, Crist and Jindal. Good management and economic creds to shore up McCain on an issue he admits isn’t his “strongest suit”. But Republican media consultant Alex Castellanos thinks McCain should – and probably would go in another direction. National security. Picking someone in lockstep with his support for the military and war in Iraq. And that person, says Castellanos, is South Dakota’s John Thune. Thune is a giant killer – handing Tom Daschle his walking papers in 2004. He’s got John Edwards’ good looks and scores a perfect ‘100’ on the American Conservative Union’s 2006 rating.

And it just so happens that Thune was out to McCain’s home for a ‘grilling’, the same weekend as Pawlenty. Pass the ranch….


Filed under: John McCain • John Roberts
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Lana

    We do not need four more years of Bush politics!!

    Obama 08!

    May 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Sal, SD

    This is just a stunt to keep attention off his medical records.

    May 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. trellskig

    It starts from the bottom and works its way up....the recession I mean! Lord help this country if he is the next president.

    May 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Ladies United for BO!

    At his age.. he should be eating something with bran in it- man oh man thats was mean ,i know..but it feels better than being mean to my fellow democrats...

    ps.. writing in a candidates name on a ballot will NOT get counted and wont make a HILL of beans..lol..i'd like to see one of the counters faces when they get a slew of handwriiten ballots..lol

    May 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. FEDUP

    I plan to write Hillary Clinton on my ballot in November. McCain is my second choice. He is not in lock step with Bush. He is a more moderate Republican, and has crossed the aisles on many occasions.

    May 22, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Bob, Hamilton

    Who wants to be a VP of a loosing Party?

    May 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Joel King

    Pick Lieberman and you will be unbeatable!

    May 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. oneway

    Hope it's Billary that they will be cooking

    May 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Good get going.

    Anyone think it is funny that the day after McCain started looking for a running mate Obama was right behind. Wounder how Obama made that decision. He has to watch what McCain dose to know what to do.

    May 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. CW4Barak

    Swing low, sweet chariott, coming forth to take McBush back to the nursing home!!

    Obama '08

    May 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. rachel

    hmm if Barrack wants to win, he better do some of that appeasment hes sound found of in his own party, cause boy its a mess. It the super d's fault too.

    May 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. JJ

    Looks like Obama will try to win the nomination the way Bush-Cheney won in '00 - by disenfranchising voters and disregarding the popular vote.

    I've never voted Republican in my life, but Obama is so unqualified and arrogant that I might just have to. The man has ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING IN HIS LIFE except editor of his college law review.

    Obama's whole campaign ("uniter not a divider") is a mirror image of Bush's. Axelrod = Rove.

    May 22, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. fred

    Ya know, I just realized that there is no way Obama would pick Hillary as his running mate. Why? Because I can't see Obama wanting to be in the same White House as Bill Clinton. I can just imagine. Bill Clinton Comes into the Oval Office one morning and says "Hey Barack, do this, this, and this.." And Barack looks up at him and replies, "Bill, I can make my own decisions. You aren't the president anymore."

    In terms of John McCain, a recent surveyUSA poll was taken, and it shows that McCain's greatest chance to beat obama would be with Mike Huckabee as VP. That would be a great move...........there's only one problem. I think people like Huckabee better than McCain (I do too). I think during McCain/Huckabee rallies, the majority of people showing up will be Huckabee supporters, and I think he will get more ovations and laughs and applauses than McCain will. But, If Mac can sacrifice his pride a little bit enough to tab Huckabee as VP, McCain and Huckabee will have no problem bringing Hillary supporters to their side, and they will win the election. It is also the conservative democrats who are choosing Obama over McCain, and with Huckabee as VP, they will choose McCain, since Huckabee has a 100% pro-life record.

    If McCain picks Mitt Romney, God help the republican party.

    May 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Pat in Cali

    He should pick Hillary.

    May 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Army Vet in Charlotte

    John McCain–Support the new GI Bill. Every veteran out there is watching you.

    May 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. GI Bill in OKI

    John McC is not a blind Bushman!

    May 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Alice in Florida

    If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, I will vote for McCain.

    Obama kissed my November vote goodbye when he decided to block a revote in my state even though Hillary supporters were going to pay for it. Obama only likes stacked decks (like caucuses where his cult members can bully everybody), especially if they hold a lot of race cards.

    May 22, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. RB

    Too bad he's not cooking up some BENEFITS FOR THE MEN/WOMEN who fight our wars!

    May 22, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Griff

    Solar Energy..... Energy for the Soul... John McCain
    In this Photo... He look's a Lot Like Richard Windmark... An old Movie Hero...

    May 22, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. EC

    Veeeppp heeeeppp, it won't matter. He can pick the Easter Bunny and it wouldn't make a difference. The Democrats are getting ready to CLEAN HOUSE and it's very clear that Americans are ready for CHANGE, from the mail room to the Oval Office.

    The CHANGE TRAIN has left the station and it's heading straight to Pennsylvania Avenue and there isn't a dam thing the Republicans can do to stop it. They need to just get out of the way or run the risk of getting run over.

    CHANGE IS COMING and it's coming on STRONG and without reserve or hesitation.

    The American People have their hands on the pulse of this election and they are going to dictate who they WANT as their next President and it sure ISN'T Sen. John McCain !!!

    May 22, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Debby

    McCain has some great choices for VP. Obama has one Hillary if he wants to win. The others that were named will drag him down in Nov.

    May 22, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Janet, American via Canada

    MCBUSH BBQ witch hunt! I hope cindy is going to wear her sizzzy '0'
    jeans!!!! Last of the BIG BBQ $$$$$ -is Mrs. MCBUSH covering this cost also!

    May 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Jana Delray Bch, Fl

    McCain is going to bury Obama, and win the election.

    So Sad.

    May 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. rice, bryan

    how much of the conversation will be about the days before horse and buggy?

    May 22, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. SARAH, FL

    IF THESE 2 STATES WERE SEATED–WHO WOULD HAVE CROSS THE FINISH LINE FIRST?

    May 22, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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