Safety first.

In a strong sign that John McCain has not selected Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, Republican members of Congress were told today by McCain’s campaign that the Arizona senator would tap a traditional number two, according to a GOP source.

The source said that would indicate that McCain has tapped either Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty.

“Traditional” has a lovely connotation vis-a-vis Joementum and a not so lovely one vis-a-vis Gingrich’s warning to McCain last month about boring white guys. Drudge, conspicuously, is teasing a link to a weeks-old Journal profile of Pawlenty as I write this, and a reader e-mails to say that David Gregory was dropping heavy hints on MSNBC a little while ago about McCain’s VP possibly appearing on talk shows this Sunday (Pawlenty’s booked for “Meet the Press”). I can’t believe they’d be holding back if the pick had leaked, but clearly everything they’re hearing is pointing them towards Pawlenty. I’ll back McCain regardless, obviously, but in all candor it makes me nervous to think that a guy I’d never heard of three months ago could be next in line behind one of the oldest presidents in history come January. And if I’m having that reaction, what are independents going to think?

Update: For what it’s worth, and probably not much, a source tells James Poulos at the Confabulum that Romney “no longer understands himself to be in consideration” and that he’ll be home in Massachusetts tomorrow. I wonder if this is why.