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Clock is ticking on VP selections

WASHINGTON — As speculation swirls, Barack Obama and John McCain are knuckling down to the work of choosing running mates with their nominating conventions just weeks away.

Current and former governors and senators seem the most serious contenders, though most of those mentioned are playing coy about any discussions with either campaign.

"I'm just not going to talk about my conversations with the campaign," Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia said Tuesday as he declined to confirm media reports that he has provided financial documents to Obama for review. Another, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, said he has decided to stop answering questions about a spot on McCain's ticket because of all the gossip.

Among others believed to be getting close looks: Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for Obama as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Ohio Rep. Rob Portman for McCain.

Several more have been mentioned. But it's appearing less likely that Obama — a Democratic Illinois senator — will choose former rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. And it's still possible that McCain — a Republican Arizona senator — will choose former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, whose support for abortion rights might upset conservatives whose enthusiasm McCain needs.

What is certain, though, is that Obama and McCain have been regularly huddling behind closed doors with a small circle of advisers to examine the backgrounds and records — and weigh the political implications — of at least a handful of prospects.

Crist now mum on the process

If Sen. John McCain's campaign is vetting Florida Gov. Charlie Crist as a possible running mate, Crist isn't talking. The governor was uncharacteristically mum on the subject Tuesday, sounding like he may have received instructions from McCain's people. "I can't comment on that process," Crist said. Asked if the McCain campaign had asked for public records, he repeated: "I cannot comment on that process."

Steve Bousquet, Tallahassee bureau chief

Clock is ticking on VP selections 07/29/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 9:21am]
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