Republican presidential candidate John McCain will try to prevent the subsequent bounce in the polls his Democratic rival for the White House is expected to get by naming his choice as a running mate shortly after that of his presidential opponent, Barack Obama.
In what one campaign planner refers to as the bounce-mitigation strategy, McCain, R-Ariz., plans to take full advantage of the Democratic convention to be held in late August – as opposed to the Republican convention to be held in early September – by reserving his choice of vice president until after Obama, D-Ill., is forced to play his hand.
According to a report in Politico, the McCain camp declines to say when the second spot on the GOP ticket will be named, saying McCain has made it clear not to discuss the matter.
But the two nominees must do more than just select a vice presidential candidate and select one soon, The New York Times reports; they have to time their announcement in such a way as to make the most out of what will no doubt be a very hectic summer.
The summer Olympics begin Aug. 8 in Beijing and finish Aug. 24th. The Democratic National Convention begins Aug. 25th, a Monday, and ends Aug. 28th, a Thursday. The Republican convention begins the following Monday in St. Paul, which doesn’t leave much breathing room for either side.
If Obama opts to name his running mate a week before the start of the convention, which most presumptive nominees do as a key tactical move to gain much-needed momentum, he runs the risk of going up against the summer Olympics.
McCain, on the other hand, has the luxury of waiting out Obama’s selection so as to steal some of the Democrat’s momentum, but some don’t see the advantage he’d gain by doing this as all that great.
“The Olympics’ ratings have been going down steadily over the years and my guess is that Obama could compete pretty effectively for coverage with just about everything but the opening and closing ceremonies,” Todd Harris, a Republican consultant, tells The Times.
“So if Obama wants a longer window in which to try to roll out his choice, I don’t think the Olympics will stand in the way.”
But waiting until the last minute to choose a running mate can hinder a party’s candidate, allowing campaign organizers little time to roll out announcements, set up network and cable news interviews, and trot out supporters and pundits who laud the selection in front of the world-wide print, radio, and online media.
A good campaign, insiders say, can extend the big announcement into a five-day story, which, if timed just right, can result in a tremendous amount of momentum for their candidate.
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