Obama's Vice Presidential Running Mate Search Nears End

With just one week to go before the Democrats open their 2008 nominating convention in Denver, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is giving no real hints about his vice presidential pick.

Pundits are left trying to interpret the television appearances, Obama's campaign schedule, denials and even a trip to a foreign hotspot to handicap the Democratic veepstakes.

By one calculus, Delaware's Sen. Joe Biden, who made a quick trip overseas for a first and assessment of the confrontation between Georgia and Russia, may have become the front-runner.

But Obama is scheduled to be in Virginia this Thursday, giving him a perfect moment in the days before the Democratic National Convention to anoint Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as his running mate.

VP Candidate
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Whoever it's going to be is scheduled to give the speech of his life at the convention next Wednesday. He -- or she -- may want to start working on a first draft.

Top Veepstakes Contenders Emerge

Here's how the veepstakes stand at the moment:

Sen. Joe Biden: He is probably the favorite right now, "which means he's not going to get it," ABC News' chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos said with a grin on "Good Morning America" Monday.

Biden is head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and would bring strong international credentials to the Democratic ticket.

George Stephnopoulos
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He is a forceful debater and "would appeal to working class Catholics in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey," Stephanopoulos said.

On the negative side, Biden would be seen as a Washington insider.

"Obama is not looking for that," Stephanopoulos told "GMA," since it would clash with Obama's theme of change. And the voluable Biden has been afflicted in the past with "foot-in-mouth disease," Stephanopoulos said.

Gov. Tim Kaine: The youthful Virginia governor and Obama are "simpatico," Stephanopoulos said. They have campaigned frequently together and would present a ticket of two fresh-faced outsiders.

Kaine made the Sunday morning talk show rounds, stoking interest that he remains on Obama's short list.

Clinton a Dark Horse for Obama Veep

On the downside, an Obama-Kaine ticket would have two candidates who are so new to the national arena that they could be attacked for being light on experience.

What may also be working against Kaine is the Democrats have designated his predecessor, former governor Mark Warner, to be the convention's keynote speaker. It would be unusual, if not unlikely to have two key speakers from the same state.

Sen. Evan Bayh: The Indiana senator would help Obama win the Hoosier State, which Obama desperately wants to win.

It would be the first time the Democrats would win Indiana in a presidential contest since 1964. Bayh has boyish good looks and hefty national security experience, which would also bolster the credentials of the Democratic ticket.

Working against Bayh, however, is a soft-spoken, some say bland manner that makes some tacticians wonder whether Bayh would be able to fit the running mate role of an attack dog against Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate.

Bayh auditioned for the attack dog role Sunday when he attacked McCain over his tough talk about Russia's invasion of Georgia by raising questions about McCain's well-known temper.

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