July 22nd, 2008
09:00 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain camp: Talk of a VP announcement this week

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/21/art.mccain07.gi.jpg caption="McCain aides hope VP speculation grabs some of the spotlight from Obama."] (CNN) - Sources in John McCain's campaign confirm to Dana Bash and Gloria Borger that there have been recent discussions high in the campaign about the possibility of naming a running mate this week.

One source tells CNN that “no decision has been made” by the candidate. Another says that some within the campaign are arguing to hold off until Obama has named his decision “so there is an opportunity to counter-program.” In any case, a campaign source adds, this does mean that the choice has been “narrowed” in McCain’s mind to the point where he could, if he were so inclined, spring a decision this week.

Campaign spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker said Monday “there will be no announcement this afternoon.”

The prospect of a McCain vice presidential announcement this week, first reported by Bob Novak on the Human Events Web site, would obviously change the subject from Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East and Europe.

In fact, even some of McCain’s own advisers admit that just leaking the possibility of a VP selection could take some of the attention away from Obama - which could, in fact, be what the campaign is trying to do.

A senior adviser said the report is a “head fake” meant to help distract attention from Barack Obama’s headline-grabbing overseas trip.

But when pressed, this adviser said that was their public explanation because they did not want to give the impression the campaign was undisciplined: “Because someone is an idiot, so we have to explain it as a tactic.”

One GOP strategist says it would be a "mistake" to name a vice presidential pick this week. Another Republican source involved in top-level McCain campaign meetings - including senior level discussions of the VP search process - tells John King that "No. It'll be closer to the convention and after Obama picks his.”

Still this source says “everything” has been discussed, from naming a running mate early - with some talk that would have resulted in the naming of the bottom half of the ticket before now - to waiting until during the convention to give the GOP drama after the Democratic convention in Denver.

Other sources say the "leading" plan is still the one that has McCain naming his running mate after the Democratic convention - a plan that would give the campaign the time it needs to roll out a vice presidential choice in the right way. Sources in the campaign say that all options have been discussed, but that no decision has yet been made.

Ironically, the end result of the fresh round of VP speculation is that the headlines may be taking attention away from stories that would give a boost to the Arizona senator's presidential effort, including their base-stirring charge that the New York Times is biased, a renewed focus on his early advocacy of the surge and Obama's opposition, and the news that conservative Christian and long-time critic James Dobson might endorse him after all.

McCain has just added a trip to meet with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday, a meeting that is also guaranteed to attract press attention.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (454 Responses)
  1. Linda

    I hope he picks Romney. I'm on the fence about Obama (although I would never vote for McCain) and knowing that Romeny could be veep is just the push I need to vote for Obama.

    July 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. John

    mike huckabee

    July 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Jim from CT

    What would be odd is if this results in an actual announcement. If it's a little ploy to get the talking heads to talk about McCain's VP choices again for a few days to take steam from Obama, ok. But if this is a real announcement, that's just sad. The VP announce is one of the few free bullets every candidate has in their gun to get mega-coverages (basically clinching the nomination, the VP announce, the convention speech, and the debates) and if McCain needs to fire it this early that should be worrisome for him.

    July 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    McCain needs something to add excitment ot his campaign. His message is currently not only lost, but floundering. Announcing his VP choice early will put the media spotlight back on him.

    Hey, I ain't no fan of Mc, but even I can see he must either announce his VP or take up sword swallowing to attract some kind of attention.

    Problem with this old man is his message is also old...and quite tiresome. (Yawn.)

    July 22, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. Mac in Nova Scotia

    For God's sake have pity on McCain and get him admitted to a nursing home.

    July 22, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Marcus B

    That's ok because Obama will be announcing his pick as soon as he steps off of Obama One in Chicago on Sunday.


    July 22, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Janet

    It's obvious that the McSame camp is desperate to tsteal some of the publicity that Barack is getting on this trip. They have no one to blame but themselves, as they dared Obama to go to Iraq. Now they think that by naming McSame's runnung mate they can get some of the attention back to them is childish, and idiotic.

    July 22, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Tony Z- MD

    The only news he makes is I might make a choice. He needs to strenghten his message instead of using Obama as a talking point. He really has no viable choices because no one wants to end their political career.

    July 22, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Doc

    When you have McCain's record, feeble attempts to trump your opponent's news exposure (like leaking a VP announcement) reek of desperation. In the weeks to come, we will see a host of stories intended to push Obama off the front page. But McCain and crew just don't get it; there's nothing new here so there's nothing news here.

    July 22, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Ken Pittsburgh

    I will not bet the farm on it this is a ploy to get extra attention this week.

    July 22, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. Susan

    'But when pressed, this adviser said that was their public explanation because they did not want to give the impression the campaign was undisciplined: “Because someone is an idiot, so we have to explain it as a tactic.”'

    Isn't this the premise of his entire campaign?

    July 22, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. Eddie Blake

    Amercia NEEDS McCain/Bobby Jindal! McCain is a little too leftist, but Jindal is a good, solid fundamentalist Christian convert. It's time to reign in some of these liberal freedoms that have taken our country in the wrong direction. It's time to close it up and get people in church.

    July 22, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Anne Hobson

    I hope McCain chooses a VP whose background is as clean as possible, so he/she can't be dissected too badly! Get your message out ASAP!

    July 22, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Michelle

    "I bet it will be Romney, who is a good choice due to his strong background in finance."

    Dear Moderator: Please take my name off the moderation list. The above comment is my latest and there is no reason for it, or me, to be endlessly moderated.

    I have never flouted any rules in this forum. I am not voting for Obama and that seems to be the only reason you are moderating me. That is a violation of free speech, so please stop.

    July 22, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  15. ERICA, Ohio


    July 22, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. dAVE

    McCain / Mr. Burns '08!

    July 22, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. S-Man

    McCain is not the kind of person I thought he is. He needs attention. His cynical smile said it all when asked about it by a reporter yesterday.

    July 22, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. eric

    The advisor's quote in the article is hilarious! He's absolutely correct that someone in the campaign is an idiot for suggesting it would be this week. The problem is that McCain's campagin is full of idiots, not least of which being McCain himself. Obama's trip would still trump McCain's VP announcement if it was made this week. Rise's comment was also hilarious, though I think he forgot to include McCain's stop to inspect the battlefield conditions on the Mesopotamian/Persian border. It's just such a tragedy there. 🙂

    July 22, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |

    The real news is that McCain really wants his VP to be Pat Nixon because he thinks a woman on the ticket would cinch the election. Only problem is that no one on his staff has the guts to tell him that Richard and Pat Nixon are no longer with us.

    July 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  20. kijana carter

    This would be a smart move by McCain. Obama's trip is going exceptionally well, and getting a ton of media coverage. McCain needs to try to hide the fact that Iraqis agree with Obama that we should withdraw our troops, and this is the only thing exciting enough for him to change the subject. Plus, he needs to tell people who will take over as president when he keels over 1 week into his first term.

    July 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  21. Frank

    This is nothing more than Obama backers in the 'press' trying to smear John McCain once again. This article is so full of holes you should be ashamed to put it out as real news! Shame on the Democrats.

    July 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Michael

    Republican who loves Obama: we don't need you.

    July 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. rev

    "McCain MIGHT pick a VP?" And I MIGHT blow my nose. This isn't news, folks.

    July 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Judgement over experience

    Jesus man, is that all you can do – criticize Obama and talk about the surge? Good God, enough already! How about the over 1.5 million homes in foreclosure? Or the 420000 jobs lost since january? Or the 4,500 soldiers that have died in this senseless war started with lies? Or gas that is at 4.50$ a gallon? Come on Mccain, you are too out of touch to be our president. You don't care about americans you are just strictly military minded. Instead of being president why don't you try and be Defense Secretary? Americans are hurting John McCain and you could care less.

    July 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. What!!!

    It would be a great mistake to make this announcement right now. With the Republican convention after the Democratic convention it would be much smarter to wait until that time. That is when he need to steal the press and thunder. It also give the Democrats less time to plan there offensive attacks against whom ever is selected. It the shoe was on the other foot and the Democratic convention was after the Republican, I beleive they would be playing the waiting game also.

    July 22, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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