Report: McCain has picked running mate, will announce Friday at 11 AM ET

The NYT reports:

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain has decided on his running mate, two Republican strategists in contact with Mr. McCain’s campaign said Wednesday. He is expected to reveal his choice at a rally at a basketball arena in Dayton, Ohio, at 11 a.m. Friday.

Mr. McCain’s decision is known only to his small inner circle of advisers, no more than three or four people, who have refused all public discussion on the matter. Republicans close to the campaign said that the top contenders remained the same three men who have been the source of speculation for weeks: former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and, possibly, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut.

It was unclear how seriously Mr. McCain was considering his good friend, Mr. Lieberman, who favors abortion rights and whose selection could set off a revolt among delegates at the Republican National Convention next week in Minneapolis-St. Paul as well as a furious backlash among Christian conservatives, a crucial voting bloc of the Republican Party. But as recently as Tuesday, Mr. McCain was said to still be entertaining the idea of Mr. Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000.

Under this option, Mr. McCain’s choice of Mr. Lieberman would help him appeal to women, independents and conservative Democrats in a tough year for Republican candidates. “It’s really alive in McCain’s mind” said one Republican consultant familiar with some of the campaign’s deliberations.

Other Republicans said they suspected that whatever Mr. McCain’s personal views, his aides could be pushing Mr. Lieberman with reporters as part of a disinformation campaign to stir interest in the selection and to make it appear as if Mr. McCain, a longtime opponent of abortion, was open to all possibilities and was therefore more of an independent candidate.

Some Republicans also said that Mr. Lieberman did not catch fire as a campaigner in 2000 and that he would alienate more voters, particularly evangelicals, than he would attract.

MSNBC’s First Read notes that McCain’s campaign schedule might rule out Lieberman:

The McCain campaign reportedly plans to roll out its vice presidential choice throughout the weekend with rallies at sports arenas in Ohio on Friday, Pennsylvania on Saturday, and Missouri on Sunday.

If the plans are to be believed, it may very well rule out the potential for Sen. Joe Lieberman to be McCain’s running mate. Lieberman, a religious Jew, does not campaign on Saturdays and most likely would not drive in the bus that is transporting McCain and his new VP. Lieberman was known to even skip his official Senate nomination at the Connecticut Democratic convention because it was held on a Saturday, and he adhered to the Sabbath while running with Al Gore in 2000 as well. He does vote when the Senate is in session on Saturdays, but walks to the Capitol.

Ok, so if it’s between Pawlenty and Romney, who do you think the pick will be? Of the two, who do you want the pick to be?

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