McCain's VP Pick: A Sarah Palin Head-Fake?

Reports say it's not Romney or Pawlenty; whether or not it turns out to be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the networks are over Obama's DNC speech.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota says he will spending this day at the Minnesota State Fair. And now we hear that he has gotten the "sorry, pal" call from John McCain.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was in suburban Washington this morning, grabbing a cup of coffee and heading out to get a haircut.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is getting ready to deal with another hurricane.

And Mitt Romney's not coming to Dayton, to which John McCain will quietly mutter, "Yippie!"

This morning, there was a great big buzz in the Dayton area, where presumptive Republican presidential candidate McCain is to announce his running-mate, about a private plane that arrived last night from Alaska.

John McCain and his campaign have sent a lot of signals about wanting to put a woman on the ticket.

Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is not just a woman but, at 44, she is young enough to be McCain's daughter.

Palin's a smart, edgy pol who is exceptionally popular in Alaska. She's a conservative with a reputation as a reformer -- which has been somewhat tainted by scandals associated with her office.

Palin's married to a native Alaskan Yup'ik (an Eskimo people of western and southwestern Alaska), she's got a kid in the Army, she likes to hunt and fish, eats moose burgers, and has taken on establishment Republicans to elbow her way onto the political stage.

Palin would have been a smart if risky choice for McCain.

But, according to Palin's Washington office, she's still in Alaska.

So maybe we just saw the Sarah Palin head-fake.

Or maybe the head-fake was the suggestion that she isn't in the running.

Or maybe...

For the McCain camp, the back-and-forth is already serving a purpose.

The prospect of a surprise selection got all the cable networks to flip their coverage over from analyzing Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention and over to the speculation about McCain's VP pick.
John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent.
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