The Note: Weight of the Wait

Three questions smart Democrats are asking:

1. Where on the scale of strategy/caution/indecisiveness do we plot the fact that Sen. Barack Obama does not at this moment have a running mate? (And where on the scale of party worry/frustration/panic do Democrats stand with a new poll showing Obama facing a 2-1 gap on handling Russia?)

2. What hole in his resume will Obama seek to fill with his choice? (And how will the rollout avoid highlighting a weakness?)

3. What was in the shave ice that brought a new candidate back to the contiguous 48? (And will it wear out?)

Three questions smart Republicans are asking:

1. What is it about Sen. John McCain's scheduled visits to offshore oil rigs that causes tropical disturbances? (And how many more topical disturbances dogging McCain fundraisers?)

2. What will a fourth Woodward book on the Bush presidency mean for the man who's carrying his party banner? (And does McCain's family have any other disinherited siblings we didn't know about?)

3. Can McCain stomach the choice that probably makes the most electoral sense for him? (And/or will he test the stomach of his party base?)

Keep your mobile devices charged: Obama's running-mate decision -- as reported by The New York Times, and announced (how else?) by The Drudge Report -- is "all but settled," with the most anticipated text message since Paris had her cell stolen to come "as soon as Wednesday morning."

(But more like Friday -- when Obama is down in Chicago, and can make an easy trip to Springfield, Ill., should he feel the urge.)

We know the names by now, and so does Obama: "By all indications, Mr. Obama is likely to choose someone relatively safe and avoid taking a chance with a game-changing selection," Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny write in The New York Times. "Mr. Obama and his running mate will begin, perhaps that day, a visit to swing states. Plans call for them to be on the trail together for much of the time between the day of the announcement and the day Mr. Obama arrives in Denver, a week from Wednesday, but their most intense campaigning together will come after the convention."

ABC's Jake Tapper reports that Obama has told "less than a half dozen" of his aides whom he has picked. The announcement is expected "at the end of this week," with a swing-state tour to follow.

Unless the timing slips: "There are signs that Obama may wait to announce his choice until this weekend or just before in hopes of providing a big boost before the convention opens Monday in Denver," Dan Balz reports in The Washington Post.

Is it all about the Clintons -- even in the timing? "In addition to giving some convention-eve energy to Obama's campaign, a late-in-the-week rollout would have another benefit in the eyes of his loyalists. It could help overshadow the other dominant story heading into Denver, which is the long-running drama over how Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and Clinton's supporters will handle themselves during the week," Balz writes.

"There's an outside chance the nod could come as soon as Wednesday, but sources indicated Monday that the planning was still fluid, and later was more likely," Ken Bazinet and Michael McAuliff report in the New York Daily News.

Mark Halperin makes a pick at The Page: "Say it is so, Joe," he writes Tuesday morning.

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