Limbaugh to McCain: A pro-choice VP guarantees defeat; Update: Lieberman "very much in the mix," say McCain advisors; Update: McCain "got the message," says RNC; Update: It's Ridge, says (unreliable?) CNN source

Assorted quotes from today’s show via Halperin, the choicest of which is this:

The drive-bys are just hoping for this. They are just hoping for it because they know it’s not just a few loud mouths in the base. They know the base will totally turn on McCain if this is the case… it’s about trying to persuade McCain to make a decision that will ensure his defeat…

What is this about picking a liberal Democrat or a liberal Republican? McCain has already seen to it that he can walk across the aisle that he’s the top of the ticket. If anybody is going to attract moderates it’s going to be the top of the ticket guy. He’s not going to help himself any additional way, he’s going to hurt himself by putting a liberal or a liberal Republican on this ticket, particularly pro-choice.


Call this “DefCon 2.” If not for Lowry claiming last night that McCain’s sounding people out about a pro-choicer, I’d never have believed he’s considering it. As it is, K-Lo’s now hearing that Ridge is out and, as I said earlier, Rudy’s been off the radar for so long and brings so little to the ticket that I have to believe he’s out too. That leaves Lieberman, who’s (a) part of Maverick’s inner circle, (b) only yesterday made some noise about reversing his opinion on Sam Alito, (c) has been featured in McCain web ads that look oddly like what you’d expect an ad for a ticket to look like, (d) has been teasing the media for weeks about attending the GOP convention, (e) given his hawkishness, is the very best McCain could do if he’s aiming — futilely — to build a fusion ticket that might be acceptable both to centrists and the base, and (f) would be the most self-consciously, ostentatiously Maverick-y choice McCain could make, which doubtless holds enormous appeal for him for precisely that reason. I have to say, I’m a little worried. Follow the link to Halperin and you’ll see Limbaugh’s worried too.

Other VP odds and ends: An ad agency snooping around through domain names finds an interesting detail about; my own domain snooping about reveals a mystery registrant as well, but it’s probably just a Palin fan unconnected to the campaign since the site was reserved in late January; and finally, Barry O’s likely first appearance with his VP will be in Springfield, Illinois. His home state, of course — and the home state of Her Majesty, too. Hmmm.


Update: Just across at Politico. Gulp.

John McCain is seriously considering choosing a pro-abortion-rights running mate despite vocal resistance from conservatives, with former Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) very much in the mix, close McCain advisers say…

Multiple GOP sources say that party officials in Washington and in the states have been contacted by the McCain campaign in the past two weeks and asked about the fallout from such a choice. One person familiar with the calls said the party was being instructed to prepare for different candidate prototypes — including one in the mold of Lieberman, who is an independent but still caucuses with the Democrats…

GOP sources say McCain and his close friend Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) still haven’t given up hope on making what some believe would be a game-changing decision by tapping Lieberman…

“It would fit well into the narrative of his not having any politics in the White House,” said the source. “No more Dick Morris, no more Karl Rove — we’re governing here. It’s an easy, natural message for McCain and it implies a one-term pledge without actually saying it.”

As for the inevitable blowback from the right, this person acknowledged the convention would be “a messy week,” representing a “shock to the system of a pro-life party.”

Follow the link for dire assessments galore from social cons. Exit quotation from ACU President David Keene: “Lieberman would blow things up.”


Update: Reassurance from the RNC by way of Fox News: “Several sources at the RNC told FOX News that in the last 36 hours, senior McCain advisers and aides have told RNC officials that McCain ‘got the message’ last week that choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights would not be helpful.”

Update: Into the hall of mirrors we go! Now this from CNN: “Several campaign officials say they do not believe a final decision has been made – though two sources say McCain may have already decided, and told only Davis. One party insider tells CNN that Davis has called several state party chairs indicating Ridge will be the Republican vice presidential pick this cycle – although it is possible that Christian conservatives may be playing up the former governor’s chances in an effort to raise alarm and prematurely kill off his candidacy.”

Update: I should have mentioned in the Politico update that they’re hearing Ridge is still in the mix, too. What to make of all the back and forth here? I can only guess that McCain is considering him and Lieberman, that social cons in the know are nervous about it and trying to scare McCain straight by raising the alarm now, and that the RNC’s in damage control mode publicly while privately they’re staging an intervention. Alternate theories?

Update: No, wait — it’s Meg Whitman! (Who?)


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