Washington Matters


A Weekend of Teasers


Not much in the way of real news this weekend, but some tantalizing tidbits are among the developments worth noting...

Vice presidential speculation continues at a high pitch, with many pundits anticipating one or both announcements before the Olympics begin on Friday. This is based on the theory that Americans can only handle one news story at a time, an assumption bordering on the ridiculous. At any rate...

For John McCain, the tease involves Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, who has been asked to go through the vetting process with McCain associates. It's an intriguing choice. Cantor is a savvy pol and rising star in the House GOP leadership, a conservative who would help shore up the party base and a Virginian who might help McCain win that state -- a counterpoint to Gov. Tim Kaine, who remains a possible pick for Obama. Equally interesting -- Cantor is one of the most prominent Jewish Republicans (assuming you don't count Joe Lieberman as a Republican). McCain has been making inroads with Jews and picking Cantor could help in Florida, a very important swing state with a large Jewish population. On the downside, no one's ever heard of Cantor outside of Virginia and he has no experience on the national stage.

For Obama, an overnight campaign stop in Indiana is drawing interest. His public schedule has plenty of blanks on it. Will Obama use the opportunity to offer the job to popular Sen. and former Gov. Evan Bayh -- or at least an in depth interview? Indiana's another red state that Obama has a serious shot at taking and Bayh, who has always been on Obama's short list, could make a real difference.

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Some noteworthy polls. Being indicted does make a difference -- at least in Alaska. Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate who pleaded not guilty late last week to lying about accepting gifts, has fallen way behind Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, the Democrat running for Stevens' Senate seat. Republicans are hoping Stevens will drop out before the Aug. 26 primary so they can name a more competitive candidate, but Stevens says he won't.

Could John McCain lose his home state of Arizona. It seems unlikely, but the race is clearly tightening, with McCain now leading by as few as 5 percentage points.

And it's all but final that there will be no joint town hall meetings with McCain and Obama -- a real disappointment, I think. They will debate three times (Sept. 26, Oct. 7 and Oct. 15), the recent norm, and there will be one vice presidential debate (Oct. 2).

 




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