The Note: Veep's Week

All he needs is experience . . . that reinforces his message of change . . . while bringing geographic/ethnic/ideological diversity . . . and fluidity at world affairs . . . without upsetting Hillary Clinton supporters . . . or the liberal left . . . in the package of someone who's ready to be president . . . who won't make it harder to hope and dream . . . or overshadow the man at the top of the ticket . . . or say something dumb . . . or be too boring to be relevant.

(Still wondering why it's taken him so long to choose?)

It's decision time for a back-from-vacation Sen. Barack Obama -- and yes, our cell phones are charged and ready to receive any important communications.

(DQMOT -- but the smart money puts the pick in the latter part of the week -- when Obama's schedule is wide open.)

(And have recent events changed the criteria? How many contenders are in Georgia by invitation right now?)

One thing the Obama campaign has done right: We are now so conditioned to think it won't be Hillary Clinton that the why-isn't-it-her storyline won't have a long shelf life. (And if it is Hillary -- oh boy.)

One thing the campaign hasn't proven it's done right: We are now so close to the start of the convention that a the pick takes on more importance and is guaranteed more quick, harsh scrutiny -- which will mean a welcome-to-the-big-leagues couple of news cycles for Obama's No. 2.

It's an uneasy time for Democrats -- winning in the polls, but not by enough; behind the standard-bearer, but still dealing with Clinton drama; excited about the ticket, but not sure yet what that ticket will look like.

"Think of the choice Sen. Obama has to make about his running mate as if it's a horserace of contenders running through his head his heart and his gut," ABC's Jake Tapper reported on "Good Morning America" Monday -- with Tim Kaine surging early and Joe Biden coming on strong.

And don't forget a dark horse: "There's talk of Hillary Clinton and former senator Sam Nunn," Tapper reports.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos tags Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who's in Georgia on Monday at the request of the Georgian leader, as the favorite: "I think he probably is [the favorite] right now -- which means he's not going to get it." And regarding Clinton: "If you gave me 50-1, I'd take it."

On timing: "A person familiar with the campaign's planning noted that Obama's schedule at the end of this week is open, but said the announcement could come 'as late as the weekend,' " Ben Smith and Glenn Thrush write for Politico. "As a candidate whose currency has been his personal story, in choosing his running mate, Obama will also be choosing a narrative."

Given the stakes -- what's one more turn on the Sunday shows between friends? "Appearing on TV talk shows, the could-be running mates from both parties strived for a delicate balancing act -- at once demonstrating their loyalty, appearing vice presidential and avoiding over-eagerness," Amy Chozick writes in The Wall Street Journal.

The schedule drives the early-week speculation: "On Monday, Sen. Obama plans to hold a town-hall style event in Gov. [Bill] Richardson's home state [of New Mexico]. On Wednesday he will campaign in Virginia, the home of Gov. Tim Kaine, another shortlister."

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