Good question, one I’ve asked before myself. A source close to Thompson told Jim Geraghty in late January that he isn’t interested in VP; au contraire, reported Carl Cameron that same day, it was VP that Fred had his eye on all along. He has more Senate experience than Obama, is close pals with McCain, would get the base jacked up like no one else, and would match up well with Biden in a debate between a guy no one knows versus a guy everyone who’s seen a few episodes of “Law & Order” recognizes instantly.

Drawbacks? The man famously doesn’t like to campaign — but then, he’d only have to do it for eight weeks. Americans won’t be thrilled having two guys on the ticket with a history of cancer — but it’s not like the left can run ads calling attention to that fact. He’s got money from Hollywood and his lobbying work — but he’s folksy enough that he doesn’t fit the stereotype of plutocracy the Democrats are trying to force on McCain. Centrists might blanch at his red-meat conservatism — but having Fred on the bottom of the ticket would give Maverick more room to be Maverick at the top. Good lord, I think I’m talking myself into this idea. Fred! Fredmania!

One minor problem. If he’s the pick, what’s he doing rolling out a new PAC this morning?

As I’m typing this, Byron York says the person to watch is Pawlenty. If you’re wondering what he’ll sound like in action as the VP nominee, here’s a clip of him from GMA this a.m. going off on the Emperor and his new clothes. Reads well if you transcribe it, but as delivered… Click the image to watch.

Update: Maverick claims he hasn’t made his pick yet, sources say otherwise.

Update: No dice, says Geraghty, citing a source close to teh Fred.