Politico and ABC both note that Barack Obama’s schedule, as well as the rapidly-declining number of days to the Democratic convention, point to a VP announcement sometime this week.  Obama has some time open at the end of the week, giving him the ability to shift suddenly to his running-mate’s home turf for the unveiling of his choice.  On the other hand, with Obama traveling through New Mexico today and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday, Obama may already be in position when the time comes:

Barack Obama is expected to choose his running mate this week in a key decision about the direction and narrative of his bid for the White House.

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.”

As for Obama’s announced schedule, it could favor either Bill Richardson or Tim Kaine.  ABC notes that Team Obama suddenly decided to invest some time in videotaping a Kaine event:

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.”

Virginia gets a second day of Obama time, too, on Thursday: “Kaine spent 20 minutes huddled in a backroom, where he said he was ‘filming a little thing’ for the Obama campaign,” Tim Craig reports for The Washington Post. “The cameraman later followed Kaine to Henrico County, where he held a town-hall meeting for Obama. But campaign officials stress the ‘filming’ of Kaine has nothing to do with Obama’s choice of a running mate.

Hmm.  Maybe Team Obama just wanted some home movies?

Of the two, Richardson makes the most sense for Obama.  He has a much better resumé than Kaine, with plenty of Beltway and foreign-policy experience, which became a lot more valuable after Obama’s embarrassing performance during the Caucasus crisis.  Richardson also has more executive experience than Kaine and presents a much higher readiness to assume the top spot in case something tragic happens, which is the most important consideration in a running mate.

A later announcement makes more sense, but one way or the other, we can expect it this week.  It makes no sense at all to forego the media blitz that his announcement will create until the convention, when a media blitz can already be expected.  Obama needs some lift after a summer in which he gave away his lead and has become defined by his inexperience and his arrogance.

A Thursday announcement would make the most strategic sense.  Obama can own the Friday news cycle and cut off any attempt by McCain to grab attention before the start of the convention in Denver on Monday.  It keeps the more in-depth, critical analysis on the weekend, and cuts it off with the start of the convention.  Does that favor Kaine?  Perhaps — but O Force One could easily get redirected to New Mexico for a prime-time announcement, or to Indiana, New York City, or just about anyplace Obama needs to go.