The Note: Welcoming Gifts

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Patrick Healy tour the veepstakes landscape -- and include this reported nugget: "Democrats said they thought it was less likely now than it was a month ago that Mr. Obama would choose Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York as his running mate, though they said she remained in consideration and that she was being vetted."

Clinton's personal tab grew by another $1 million in June. "Clinton reports raising $2.7 million from donors in June and ending the month with $25.2 million in debts after suspending her quest for the presidency," per the AP write-up. "The former first lady owes $12 million to vendors and lent herself $1 million in June for a total loan to her campaign of about $13.2 million."

Is any McCain surrogate as aggressive as Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.? (Does not being a Republican allow him to say things that the campaign might otherwise feel the need to dial back?)

"The fact is that if Barack Obama's policy on Iraq had been implemented, Barack Obama couldn't go to Iraq today, it wouldn't be safe," Lieberman said on "Fox News Sunday." "He was prepared to accept retreat and defeat, and that would mean, today, al Qaeda would be in charge of parts of Iraq, Iranian-backed extremists would be in charge of other parts of Iraq. There'd be civil war and, maybe, even genocide."

Think abortion isn't the issue it once was? Look no further than the veepstakes. "Tom Ridge and Chuck Hagel aren't likely to be selected as vice presidential candidates, and it has little to do with lack of merit," Bloomberg's Al Hunt reports. "Either one might make an interesting running-mate choice, except they can't pass one of the few political litmus tests: abortion."

You know you're in veepstakes nuttiness when you make news even when you explicitly say you're not: "I'm trying not to make news on that this morning so I hope you'll forgive me, but truly they've established a process, it's their process, and I think it's up to them to . . ." Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said in trying not to say whether he's being vetted.

Elsewhere in the category of idle appointment speculation: "Speculation that Governor Deval Patrick could wind up in a Barack Obama presidential administration has been rife, and lately political and legal observers are pointing to the Supreme Court as a potential destination for the Harvard Law grad and former Justice Department official," John C. Drake writes in The Boston Globe.

Also in the news:

The Xcel Center gets its Republican National Convention makeover: "The keys to the Xcel Energy Center will be turned over to the national Republican Party this morning in an informal ceremony, as construction crews begin a multimillion-dollar, six-week makeover, transforming the complex into the home of the party's national convention, Sept. 1 to 4," Randy Furst writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "When it's over the evening of Sept. 4, not long after John McCain waves one last victory sign and the final balloon drops, crews will begin a two-week tear-down. The next event will be a state superintendents conference at the St. Paul RiverCentre on Sept. 18."

For your calendar: "Bush is scheduled to speak to the convention on Monday, hours after a major anti-war protest march that could draw as many as 50,000 people to St. Paul's streets. Former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards is expected to address another protest that day sponsored by the Service Employees International Union."

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