U.S. News and World Report: Romney's out; Update: Rove tried to talk Lieberman out of joining the ticket

Any reason to place more stock in this rumor than every other rumor over the past three weeks? Just the timing: Drudge is red-fonting the claim that McCain’s settled on a nominee as I write this, which jibes with Byron York’s sources telling him this afternoon that the inner circle held their final meeting today about the pick. Like York, I’m nervous that the name’s going to leak tomorrow and it’s going to be both swallowed up by Pericles’s oration at the Parthenon and also perceived as an ungracious attempt to step on his spotlight. But McCain’s stuck. He said the nominee would be revealed on the 29th, so they have to start moving on it now to get the logistics in order.

Still in the running, according to U.S. News: Hutchison (groan), Meg Whitman (groan), and … Joementum (groooooan), although NBC speculates that the timing of the rollout means Lieberman’s not the pick since it would force him to campaign on the Jewish sabbath. Exit question: If it’s true that Mitt’s out, what finished him off? Was Huck right about there being too many antagonistic soundbites floating around out there or is it a case of there simply being too much money on the ticket in light of the attack on McCain’s houses? If the latter, bear this fun fact in mind: Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, is worth a cool $1.4 bil.

Update: Here’s Politico’s report claiming that the nominee will be told tomorrow. Note well: There seems to be no Saturday event on the schedule. Joementum?

The GOP nominee-in-waiting will move to immediately change the campaign conversation from Barack Obama’s football stadium acceptance speech Thursday to the new Republican ticket, to be revealed at a noontime Friday rally in a Dayton, Ohio, basketball arena. McCain and his running mate will then travel by bus to Pennsylvania, where they’ll hold an outdoor event at a minor league baseball stadium in Washington County, just southwest of Pittsburgh. On Sunday, the duo will head to suburban St. Louis for another event to be held at a minor league baseball stadium, this one in O’Fallon, Mo.

Update: Bob Novak claims Lieberman tried to talk McCain out of putting him on the ticket, now Politico claims he did no such thing — but was asked to by none other than Karl Rove. I’ve got a baaad feeling about this.

Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) late last week and urged him to contact Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.

Lieberman dismissed the request, these sources agreed.

Lieberman “laughed at the suggestion and certainly did not call [McCain] on it,” said one source familiar with the details…

“Rove is pushing Romney so aggressively some folks are beginning to wonder what’s going on,” grumbled one veteran Republican strategist.

I’m assuming three sources aren’t coordinating to feed Politico a lie, which means Novak’s piece is probably wrong and was circulated to try to torpedo Lieberman’s chances by making it look like even he’s against the idea. Is Maverick actually going to drop Joementum on us on Friday?

Update: Say, who are the guys with earpieces following Romney around?

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