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John McCain may and may not be naming his running mate on
Friday in Dayton, Ohio. That setting has been expected for
more than a week, but on Thursday the presumptive Republican nominee told a Pittsburgh radio audience
that he hasn’t made up his mind.

Something tells me his mind will be made up by Friday.

Last week, I guessed right that Barack Obama would choose
Joe Biden as his running mate. Everyone knows that a stopped clock is right
twice a day. Let’s see if I can make it twice in a week. I think McCain picks
Mitt Romney as his running mate.

As I said before, a bad choice is more likely to hurt a
candidate than a good choice is going to help. By choosing the former Massachusetts governor,
McCain avoids a potentially divisive fight over abortion at the Republican
Convention next week without abandoning any more of his independent persona.

With his background as head of the Salt Lake City Olympics
organizing committee, Romney brings business success that’s easy for people to
grasp. And you can be sure he’ll talk a lot more about the Olympics than his
days in high finance.

Salt Lake City
also gives Romney a claim to being a candidate from the West at a time when
western states, once safely Republican in presidential elections, are very much
in play. His Mormon faith may repel some voters; but Biden’s Catholicism might
too.

Romney’s religion also might draw out some voters who otherwise
wouldn’t cast ballots.

As for Romney’s deep pockets, the Democrats were going to
hit the Republicans on wealth anyway.

And where Obama used his choice to try to address concerns
about his relative youth and inexperience on foreign policy, Romney speaks to
concerns about McCain’s age and his emphasis on national security over economic
issues. And he does it without raising a new set of questions about too much
youth and too little experience, which might be the case with the governor of
my home state, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

My colleague Paul Gullixson will check in a little later to
explain why I’m wrong and McCain will be standing alongside Pawlenty (or
someone else not named Romney).

— Jim Sweeney