DNC: Did GOP Vice-presidential Candidate Make Appearance in Denver?
During the course of the Democratic National Convention, Republicans have trotted out some big names in Denver to make sure not all the headlines go the way of Barack Obama and his party.
First, it was Mitt Romney who came to town to tout the virtues of presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. Romney was an opponent of McCain during the primary. Now the former Massachusetts governor is a leading candidate to be McCain’s running mate.
Then came Rudy Guiliani, the hard-nosed former New York City mayor who had notions of a run for the Republican nomination, but early missteps in his campaign short-circuited his bid. Giuliani pressed home one of the GOP’s key talking points: McCain’s experience makes him ready to lead, and Obama’s lack of experience makes him unfit to be commander-in-chief.
But perhaps the most interesting of the Republican figures to make an appearance in Denver was Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Pawlenty is being mentioned, along with Romney, as being on the short-list of vice-president candidates.
McCain has chosen his running mate and will appear with his No. 2 at an Ohio rally on Friday, aides said, though they provided no details on McCain’s pick.
Others believed to be in contention for the No. 2 slot on the GOP ticket, other than Romney, include Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was vacationing on New York’s Long Island, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.
Fueling speculation that McCain would choose either Pawlenty or Romney or another conservative Republican, two GOP officials said they believed McCain had picked a traditional candidate. They based their conclusion on the fact that the campaign, which once had put the party on notice to prepare for the possibility of an unconventional candidate, does not have preparations in place to curb the fallout from a right flank that certainly would revolt if Ridge, an abortion-rights backer, or Lieberman, a former Democrat, was on the ticket.
During a press conference Thursday morning, Pawlenty constantly had to parry questions about his schedule and if he had talked to McCain’s campaign.
After the conference, Pawlenty canceled several of his scheduled events in the afternoon, further heating up speculation about his future.
But while taking questions, Pawlenty kept on message: After the speeches are done and the fireworks are over at the DNC, who has the most experience to be president?
McCain, who survived several years in a prison camp during the Vietnam War, has lived his life with honor, valor and courage, Pawlenty said.
“I think the best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived,” Pawlenty said, taking an obvious shot at Obama’s ability to give a rousing speech.
“The question remains … does this person have enough experience to be president of the United States.”
He said those questions will continue to be asked through the Republican Convention next week in Minnesota and throughout the campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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