It's Lieberman ! No, It's Pawlenty ! No, It's Romney !

It's Lieberman ! No, It's Pawlenty ! No, It's Romney !


As the nation waits for Barack Obama’s Vice-Presidential announcement, attention is also turning to the question of who John McCain will choose as his running mate. And, it’s pretty clear that nobody has a clue right now.

Last night, National Review’s Byron York reported that the list had narrowed to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman:

Been distracted much of the day by all this McCain houses stuff. But I’ve been talking to more people about the veep thing, and the picture I get is this: McCain is sitting in front of a console with a switch with two positions: GAMBLE and PLAY IT SAFE. If he moves the switch to GAMBLE, he picks Lieberman. If he moves it to PLAY IT SAFE, he picks Pawlenty. It seems increasingly clear that a Tom Ridge gamble doesn’t make a lot of sense, and a Mitt Romney choice isn’t a big gamble, but it isn’t really safe either.

But then Time’s Mark Halprin said that McCain had settled on Mitt Romney, and the New York Times is reporting that the list is down to Pawlenty and Romney:

SEDONA, Ariz. — Senator John McCain has narrowed his list of potential running mates to a handful of candidates and appears unlikely to select anyone who supports abortion rights, several advisers close to his campaign said on Thursday.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota are the top candidates as Mr. McCain and his advisers gather over the next several days at Mr. McCain’s cabin near Sedona, they said.


Mr. Romney, who is Mormon, might not be the easiest sell to Christian conservatives, and there remains some opposition to him among evangelical Christians.

Advisers said, however, that as a successful businessman he would bring an economic fluency to the ticket that Mr. McCain lacks, as well as family ties to Michigan, a crucial swing state, where Mr. Romney’s father was governor.

Mr. Pawlenty, an evangelical Christian, traveled frequently with Mr. McCain during the primaries, but he is little known outside Minnesota.

Given all the attention that’s being paid to Barack Obama’s long, drawn out, selection process, it’s hard to read the tea leaves on what McCain and his advisers are thinking.

As I’ve noted before, the idea that Joe Lieberman is really a serious contender for the VP slot seems to be little more than a political wonks fantasy. If McCain wins, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him tap Lieberman — who has pretty much burned his bridges with the Democratic Party at this point — for a Cabinet position such as Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense, but there’s simply no way he’s going to be the Vice-Presidential nominee.

Notwithstanding their sometimes bitter rivalry during the race for the Republican nomination, it seems as though McCain and Romney have made their peace with each other as typified by Romney’s speech at CPAC earlier this year and his endorsement of McCain a week later. Since the Republican race ended, Romney has said more than once — see here and here — that he would be willing to serve as McCain’s running mate if asked. Moreover, while Romney may not be an attention-grabbing pick he would seem to be, under the circumstances McCain faces, a good one that meets the criteria that McCain needs for a running mate. Finally, though I don’t know that McCain is thinking along these lines, selecting Romney has the added advantage of blunting the 2012 and beyond ambititions of Mike Huckabee.

And Pawlenty ? I’ll confess to not knowing much of anything about him. He is apparently a basically successful Governor, which is saying something I suppose, but there is always a danger in selecting a running mate that isn’t known at all on the national stage, as George H.W. Bush can attest.

My guess is that it will be Romney, but there’s the possibility that McCain is waiting to make a final decision until after Obama makes his announcement.

  • gerryf

    Lieberman=the first vice presidential candidate to lose twice for two different parties?

    Lieberman brings nothing to the ticket other than a kind voice to correct McCain when his senility kicks in.

  • paul

    The only way McCain gets my vote is with Huckabee, I was almost ready to give him a chance after the Broke Back forum, But then he started with all this Lieberman and Ridge VP talk. So now. The only way i will vote McCain is if he goes that extra mile and puts Huckabee on the ticket. Other wise I will cross the isle and vote Obama or Barr.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Quite honestly, if McCain picks Huckabee it will be like he planted a hand grenade inside the Republican Party that will tear it apart when it explodes.

    The idea of the Huckster as the nominee of the Republican Party in 2012 or 2016 would scare the wits out of any self respecting libertarian-oriented or fiscally conservative Republican. And, Huckabee can’t win based on evangelical support alone.

  • Johanan

    Huckabee, I’m afraid, has lost credibility. He has repeatedly, now, used underhanded religious attacks, all the while acting innocent.

    Case in point #1: The “appearing” cross in his commercial that he denied was intentional. Truth: see the commercial and judge for yourself- looks pretty intentional to the reasonable!

    Case in point #3: His claim that he didn’t know much about Mormonism on national TV, asking “don’t Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?” Truth: Huckabee spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah just a few years ago.

    Case in point #4: During the run-up to the Iowa Primary, Huckabee focused on Romney’s religion, making this the distinguishing issue between Romney and himself, but all the while claiming that it wasn’t an issue. Truth: by incessantly focusing on the issue, Huckabee knew he’d draw attention to it and that local Iowa pastors would help with the rest.

    Case in point #5: Just last week, Huckabee again tried to hit Romney, saying that it was NOT the religion issue. Truth: Well, if it’s not an issue, why do Huckabee supporters keep drilling it home and why can’t Huckabee himself leave it alone?

  • Johanan

    Huckabee started out credible and seemingly fair-minded. Now, most Mormons (an increasingly wealthy and powerful segment of the Republican Party) see him as a small-minded bigot. To win, Republicans need unity between the Mormons and the evangelicals. Though Romney is a better choice if McCain’s goal is to beat Obama (Romney is more credible on economics than anyone who as ever run for President or been in a VP contest), Pawlenty represents mainstream evangelicals much better than Huckabee. That is, to put it bluntly, Pawlenty beliefs in Christ but he doesn’t believe in shoving the Nicea Creed down Mormons’ throats- at least not in a land of religious freedom and separation of religion and state…

  • Mike

    paul – seriously? Huckabee is your determining factor on voting for a liberal democrat? That makes no sense…the VP doesn’t have that much pull in washington. What does Huckabee offer the ticket? He can’t debate well unless you count making people laugh, he doesn’t understand the main policies being discussed as proven with his governing abilities, or should I say in-abilities.

  • McCain/Romney 08!

    Who cares about Huckabee? The rest of the Republican Party has moved on with unity, Huckabee is the only person bashing a fellow Republican right now. Truth be told, he was only useful during the primaries when the media needed him to take out Romney. Now the media has thrown him under the bus.

    Romney will win over evangelicals, he already has (about 30% voted for him in the primaries). Romney has the added advantage of pulling in Michigan, Colorado, Nevada and possibly Ohio. Not to mention he is an economic whiz kid, the economy is the number one issue right now folks. It’s got to be Romney for VP!

    McCain/Romney 08!

  • STS

    Put a fork in the Huckster, he’ll never win a national nomination and he doesn’t even speak for a majority of evanglicals. McCain / Romney is exactly what this country needs in these times of economic and foreign turmoil.

    That said I don’t understand ultra-evangelicals like Paul. With McCain / Romney you get two pro-life politicians who will appoint pro-life judges. There’s no doubt about that. With Obama you get the exact opposite.

    This is really about ultra-evangelicals like Paul (luckily only a minority of all evengelicals) being unable to accept people who is not exactly like them from a religious doctrine standpoint – even if they share the same values (i.e Romney and to a lesser extent McCain). If they really want to change this country its time to make inroads with people who share their values not push them away.

  • Dana

    I just don’t understand why it’s always a Republican/Democrat issue. People should vote for those who are best fit to run the country, period. Instead, people vote for “their party,” or “the candidate who is most likely to win”. It sickens me to see that people like George W. Bush can not only steal an election, but then actually win one for a 2nd term, all the while decimating our economy, our standing in the world, and the lives of countless families with an endless, win-less war.

    Of course, the people most fit are instead assassinated (Martin Luther King, Jr. to name one of them). I personally don’t vote, because as a teenager in high school, I lost faith in our voting system when George W. Bush literally robbed an election. Everyone saw it happen and, instead of raising an eyebrow, we LET it happen! I think McCain will win, not because he is best fit for president, and not because most people in the United States will vote for him, but rather because his selfish, pure-capitalistic, religious, “patriotic” (word used lightly) views are shared by those currently in power.

    Just remember when you vote: Whoever takes office has the right to veto billions of dollars in aid to children, all the while fuel a pointless war with YOUR money!

  • Dawnfire82


    The Democratic Party is *loaded* with women who are pissed off at Obama and simply want an excuse to cross over.

  • kacy

    I couldn’t be happier. A McCain/Romney ticket is a winning ticket and with Romney the country will benefit from his vast expertise at a time when the economy is in a tailspin.

    McCain * Romney ’08!! :) We’re ready!

    Sorry Huck – time for you to take your little bigoted ol’ self on home. No one cares about how much you hate Mormons and everyone else who doesn’t believe as you do. Shame on you – you narrow-minded little man.

  • http://marv m Lee Schwab

    I for one look forward to a McCain/Romney ticket. If he picks Romney I plan on contributing the maximium amount, with a guy like Obama possibily as president we need to united for a greater cause. Huckabee would have been smart to follow Romney’s lead in getting out when it was obvious he was not going to win. I see Romney continually in the media supporting McCain and making his case to the American people. Meanwhile Huckabee is out in the media still trashing Romney because he is Mormon. You have got to ask yourself this question, at this point is Huckabee part of the solution or is he part of the problem.

  • Ben

    I think Obama’s selection makes it logical to choose Romney. Joe Biden is an excellent debator and has a large wealth of knowledge and experience. (However, I don’t agree with Joe Biden’s views.) It is unclear if Pawlenty will be able to out debate Joe Biden. However, Romney can. If you want the race to be about experience and ability, McCain/Romney trumps Obama/Biden, but it is not as obvious that McCain/Pawlenty trumps Obama/Biden.

  • spidermike

    It will be Romney. Romney can deliver Michigan, thanks to his dad George who ruled the state for years. The Romney name is gold in Michigan, and McCain needs Michigan big-time. It will be Mitt: bet on it because it’s in the bag. Pawlenty is a loser next to Mitt.

  • Ted

    Despite the Dems and the allied main stream media’s desperation to see Romney as McCain’s Veep, Mitt is clearly out, with (1) Obama doubling down on the class warfare theme (McCain’s 7 houses) and (2) McCain doubling down with ads showing the hypocrisy of Biden attacking Obama in the primaries — Romney did way more than that contra McCain.

    This leaves only Govs Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty. Pro-abortion Ridge and Dem-Lieberman were never real considerations, despite relentless media goading. Pawlenty’s lackluster TV performances, coupled with Palin pizzazz, the primacy of oil drilling and the ticked off women/Hillary voters, does now portend a McCain/Palin checkmate on the Dems. This is so albeit the Dems and liberal media dare not mention Palin’s name, that is, everyone but…..

    And if there’s any question as to Palin being uniquely positioned and able to more than nullify Biden in debate, see the excellent discussion at

    Team McCain, well done!!!