Speculation swirled Tuesday that Sen. John McCain might name his vice presidential partner within the next few days – right in the middle of rival Barack Obama's overseas tour.
Aides to the Republican presidential candidate were not helping tamp down the speculation with their comments, often made late in the afternoon, of “no announcement today.”
But what about tomorrow? Or where? On Tuesday, McCain campaigned in New Hampshire, not all that far from a lakeside summer home of vanquished GOP rival Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. Romney was nowhere to be seen. Well, it wasn't really that close to his lakeside home.
One member of the audience told McCain he seemed like a very “forgiving” man. “Have you forgiven Mitt Romney?” he asked the senator.
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Amid laughter, McCain said, “Mitt has been of tremendous help to my campaign. … He does a better job for me than he did for himself.”
Later, when reporters asked if this was a good week to announce his own running mate with Obama overseas, McCain chuckled and said, “We have the same answer we always have. … We'll let you know when we have an announcement.”
Last Sunday, McCain was in the Bronx at a Yankees game with another former rival, one-time New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “You hear all kinds of stuff,” Giuliani later said, “but I'm not thinking about anything but helping to get him elected.”
The campaign is also quiet about where McCain is going next, keeping scheduling matters close to the vest. And that adds to the frenzy.
All questions about the process of selecting a running mate are quickly shot down.
“It's the one subject we've been forbidden to talk about,” said senior adviser Mark Salter. He promised to come to the press area of McCain's plane, “but I won't tell you anything.” That is, unless it's “what's wrong with Barack Obama's judgment,” Salter joked. Actually, he wasn't joking.
When reporters caught a glimpse of McCain and rushed forward on the plane, he grinned and waved them away. “What do you want, you little jerks?” he asked.
There are a lot of potential running mates that McCain could visit as he jets around the country – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist or Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, for instance, three governors mentioned frequently as possible running mates. McCain ends up in New Orleans this evening.