Is Obama Planning a Veepstakes Shocker This Week?

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Are you holding on to your cell phones? After endless rumination and media speculation, Barack Obama's decision on a running mate is nigh. Nigh! Just how nigh, nobody is quite sure. Could be tomorrow morning, could be later this week — Team Obama is probably relishing the suspense. They've promised to announce the pick to their supporters via text message, and based on the veepstakes short list and recent events, many people think the text might look something like, "Wht up, J Biden is my VP. TTYL."

• Jonathan Cohn thinks that picking Biden "would speak well of Obama's judgment," as Biden has a "deep and impressive resume" and is a "bona fide expert on foreign policy." On the downside, he "has a habit of straying off message and making impolitic comments." [Plank/New Republic]

• Josh Marshall says that while Biden wouldn't be "the most exciting choice," doesn't bring in a swing state, and is basically another middle-aged white guy, he'd be "a really good choice" on "substance," considering his "pretty deep knowledge of pretty much every big foreign policy question." [TPM]

• Ezra Klein is so high on Biden that he reruns an old post outlining why he'd be a good pick, noting that the only thing that's changed is that "Obama has shown himself more, not less, in need of an attack dog able to engage McCain on national security." [American Prospect]

• John Nichols agrees that "[e]vents in Georgia and Pakistan have made the prospect that Obama will choose" Kaine or Sebelius, two governors, less likely. Bayh also probably doesn't fit the bill because he lacks "foreign policy stature." That leaves Biden, Clinton, and, yes, there's even "been a bit of Al Gore buzz." Regardless, we can expect Obama's choice to be "safe." [Campaign '08/Nation]

• Michael Crowley is still kind of hoping for Al Gore. Is it curious that Gore is still absent from the convention speaking list? [Stump/New Republic]

• Jay Carney writes that "if Obama wanted to make a truly big statement before the convention, he might want to risk alienating Democrats by picking a Republican running mate" like Richard Lugar or Chuck Hagel. Is there a "better way to double down" on a message of transcending political divisions "than by choosing a member of the other to be his running mate?" [Swampland/Time]

• Dan Balz writes that Tim Kaine may have been hurt by the reemergence, with the Russia-Georgia conflict, of national security matters as a priority in a running mate. Kathleen Sebelius is still risky because it would anger Hillary Clinton's supporters if Obama picked a woman other than Clinton. [WP]

• Mark Silva contends Obama's veep needs "a certain measure of excitement," and ability to "rekindle that fire." Biden and Bayh are lacking in that regard. Kaine, a fresh face, might be able to "fill the bill of the excitement of the newcomer on the national stage." [Swamp/Chicago Tribune]

• Michael Moore claims a surefire way for Obama to lose the election is to "[p]ick a running mate who is a conservative white guy or a general or a Republican." [Rolling Stone]

• Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny pare the veep finalist list down to three: Biden, Bayh, and Kaine. All three choices reflect that "Obama is likely to choose someone relatively safe and avoid taking a chance with a game-changing selection." Obama has to make a big choice between "someone who would fill perceived holes in his résumé" and someone "who would reinforce his promise of change or one who might help him win a contested state." [NYT]

• Nate Silver wonders if the Obama campaign is laying the ground for a surprise pick, considering that all of the reports on the veep finalists seem to be about the same people and are pretty vague. But the surprise pick would have to be an "A-lister" — meaning Clinton, Gore, John Kerry, Colin Powell, or two people who have pulled their names out and would produce a lot of shock value: Mark Warner and Jim Webb. [Five Thirty Eight]

• Taylor Marsh also "wouldn't be shocked to be surprised by his choice," and is still convinced that Clinton is his best option. [Taylor Marsh]

• Patrick Healy admits there's a lot to overcome, and there's little indication that it could happen, but speculates that it's still within the realm of possibility that Obama is planning a huge splash by picking Clinton. [NYT]

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.