NYT: Obama's picked his VP; Update: Kristol says Sebelius in final three? Update: CNN/Bayh hoax added!

Not since the 30 fateful seconds between Ray Stantz’s brain freeze and the appearance of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man has the revelation of a secret decision been more anticipated.

Mr. Obama had not notified his choice — or any of those not selected — of his decision as of late Monday, advisers said. Going into the final days, Mr. Obama was said to be focused mainly on three candidates: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware

Mr. Obama’s advisers said he reached his decision while on vacation in Hawaii. They said it marked the end of what proved to be an unexpectedly intense process, condensed because he did not want to start actively vetting potential running mates before Mrs. Clinton quite the race in June. By contrast, Mr. McCain, who had wrapped up the Republican nomination months earlier, began his process in late spring…

The Obama campaign has cautioned against reading anything into his schedule, saying it could be changed in an instant to accommodate the plan to introduce the running mate.

Aides said the announcement would come at the earliest on Wednesday morning, and no later than Friday.

Mr. Obama’s advisers said they wanted to time the announcement to get the maximum publicity going into the convention, after a stretch in which Mr. Obama was on vacation in Hawaii and Mr. McCain made good use of having the political stage largely to himself.

Ed speculated this morning that “maximum publicity” probably means Thursday so that he can carry the buzz over to Friday and then ride it through the weekend. I agree. Okay, kids, time to show your cards: Who will it be? The smart money says Biden, who’s just back from Georgia with a feather in his cap and whose foreign policy advisor, Tony Blinken, was coincidentally “vacationing” last week in … Hawaii. Even so, leaking the names of Bayh, Biden, and Kaine seems odd when Obama’s playing everything else so close to the vest. Almost seems like a deliberate decoy, designed to draw us away from the actual nominee so that when the announcement drops it’ll go off like a nuclear blast. You don’t suppose…

Update: We can probably safely rule out Ed Rendell.

Update: Don’t know where Ace is getting this — probably from the panel on Brit Hume’s show — but evidently Bill Kristol says it’s Kaine, Biden, and Sebelius. Likelihood that BK is simply trying to sow disgruntlement among the Hillary diehards by throwing Sebelius in there: High.

Update: No surprise that a plurality of Democratic delegates prefer Hillary as VP but it is a surprise how small that plurality is — just 28 percent (which is still 22 points better than the runner-up, Joe Biden).

Update: Did CNN spill the beans on Bayh being the pick or did someone doctor a screenshot in Photoshop? You make the call! The Freepers had this too, for what it’s worth, although the source may be the same. Verdict, judging from the misspellings in the CNN “article” and the fact that I never saw this in my RSS reader: Hoax.

Update: Let’s put it this way. It had better be a hoax, because the alternative explanation — that CNN figured out the pick, ran the story, and then scrubbed it to do Obama a solid — would set a new gold standard of what it means to be in the tank for Barry O.

Update: A few more good catches on the Bayh screenshot by the Jed Report. It’s a hoax.