The Note: Tag-Team Time?

With all the boo-boos the candidates are picking up -- what better time for some reinforcements?

To that end -- surely there's a short list, and surely someone will be chosen from it (or not).

Certainly Sen. Barack Obama will choose first (unless, of course, Sen. John McCain does).

Of course a pick comes before the Olympics (except if it doesn't).

(Similarly -- naturally there was a trip bounce, unless it bounced in the other direction. It just depends on which Gallup poll you buy.)

Obama's top three (if you believe convention wisdom): Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine.

McCain's top three (if you believe McCain believes in conventional wisdom): Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge.

With Obama in Washington with his senior advisers -- after a three-hour meeting with his vetters Monday, and more alleged "gym time" (sore hip and all) Tuesday morning -- veepstakes speculation hits its first code red (or -- remind us again -- does blue go first?) of the season.

Among Obama's meetings Tuesday, per an Obama aide: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whom he'll sit down with at the Federal Reserve in Washington.

The betting's on Obama to choose first and early -- if only to put as much space as possible between his announcement and his down-time in Hawaii (and to give as much time as possible for jilted Clinton supporters to erupt and get over it in advance of the convention.)

Gov. Kaine, D-Va. -- in Washington Tuesday as well, for his monthly radio interview program, with plenty of time for secret and not-so-secret meetings -- has the mixed blessing of holding the hot hand at the moment that's either exactly right or totally wrong.

"Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has told close associates that he has had 'very serious' conversations with Sen. Barack Obama about joining the Democratic presidential ticket and has provided documents to the campaign as it combs through his background," Michael Shear and Shailagh Murray write in The Washington Post, adding that a pick is still probably several weeks away.

"Several people who have spoken to Kaine said he has talked about the seriousness of the possibility," they write. "One said Kaine has stressed that there are other top candidates but described his discussions with the campaign as 'very serious.' "

(What message does it send to Obamaland that people close to the Last Virginian Standing are talking?)

"Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has emerged as one of the campaign's potential finalists," Ben Smith and Amie Parnes write for Politico. "Kaine, an early Obama supporter whose biography nicely dovetails with the Illinois senator's, 'ranks very, very high on the short list,' said a source who has spoken recently to senior Obama aides about Kaine."

ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg puts Kaine on Obama's "very short list"; good luck, governor, moving around these next few days.

The Obama comment that set the tongues wagging: "I'm going to want somebody who shares a vision of the country; where we need to go -- that we've got to fundamentally change not only our policies, but how politics works, how business is done in Washington," Obama said on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"Any of that could apply to Kaine," Pete Brodnitz, Kaine's pollster, tells Jeff E. Shapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As for who those who won't be getting a rose -- Obama's team is making clear the candidate is wide awake, if he was ever dreaming at all.

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