In our last installment, we took note of claims that John McCain had settled on T-Paw as his VP more than a year ago. A report on the website of conservative mouthpiece Fox News over the weekend only adds fuel to that claim.
For one thing, McCain's advisers announced that he had doubled the number of competitive swing states. That makes a moderate Republican like Pawlenty all the more attractive, and indicates Minnesota could potentially be a battleground:
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania, is high on his list of VP bets. So is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Both states went Democratic in the 2004 presidential election, but not by much.
“The three names that McCain should absolutely not pick are (Mike) Huckabee, Romney and Condoleezza Rice,” he said.
Rasmussen has even set up a fake stock market that allows political junkies to bet on who they think will get the nod. So far, T-Paw is barely trailing Romney, who as previously mentioned, may not be a candidate McCain could live with:
From Rasmussen Markets (value reflects percentage chance)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison: 5.9%
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: 5%
T-Paw attracts similar betting action on Intrade Prediction Markets (value reflects percentage chance):
Tom Ridge appears on neither of those lists, meaning he may be a nag. Which leaves Pawlenty as the last candidate standing.
Meanwhile, McCain indicated Monday that he's going to pull the trigger sooner rather than later:
“Let me just say that I hope that we could arrive at that decision earlier rather than later, but it is a long process to go through.”
This again works in Pawlenty's favor, since he's a known, vetted commodity whose been on the shortlist for over a year.
In light of this, we're taking the unprecedented step of raising the VP Pawlenty Meter to Orange Alert: