From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
WHAT THEY'RE UP TO. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) did a CNBC hit from McCain HQ in Arlington today, where McCain himself was doing interviews. A Pawlenty aide wouldn't confirm if he spent time with the senator, though. Officially, he was in Washington today for a quarterly meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.
Stay tuned for more on the NGA Convention, which kicks off in Philadelphia Friday night. Pawlenty is wrapping up his tenure as chair of the organization in its centennial year, and he will be playing a leading role all weekend. Govs. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS), Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) and Sarah Palin (R-AK) also are confirmed to attend. Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) is the incoming chair. Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) is one of the few governors not planning to attend; a spokesman said he is scheduled to leave for a trade mission abroad. Former President and former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech Saturday afternoon.
Mitt Romney was on CNN, and didn't want to speculate about what Pres. Bush's role would be at the convention.
Napolitano also appeared on CNN just moments ago, discussing judges and whether Obama has shifted positions.
ON THE RECORD. John Edwards was asked on NPR if he would accept an offer to be VP, after being told that it's an "open secret" that he's on the short list. "I'm glad to hear that's an open secret, cause I didn't know it," he said. "My answer to that is, I've run for vice president. I've run for president twice. I would do anything that I felt that I could do to serve this country. But I think it's a huge presumption for me or anybody else to suggest what Senator Obama may decide. To answer your question directly, I don't expect to be asked. Have no expectation about it at all. I will -- anything that Senator Obama asks me to do, including this, including campaigning for him, I intend to do because what I am going to do, I intend to take seriously. Because what I intend to do is use anything in my power to make sure that he's the next president." Asked again if he'd accept VP or a Cabinet post, he says: "I'm prepared to seriously consider anything, anything he asks me to do for our country."
Mike Huckabee told Fox last night: "If I'm being vetted, it's a big secret to me. The rumor is that Sean Hannity is on the list several slots ahead of me."
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) wouldn't say if he's been approached by the McCain team about vetting Crist.
BUZZ METER. A tentative plan for the RNC calls for each of McCain's formal rivals, including Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, to speak.
Newt Gingrich gives a big wet kiss to LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in an e-mail today. "In just six months he's accomplished more than most elected officials accomplish in a lifetime," Gingrich writes. "Governor Jindal has built his impressive record of conservative reform through an innovative, aggressive leadership that should be required learning for officials in Washington, D.C."
People Magazine will soon be profiling Palin, mother of five, including baby Trig.
The Netroots appear to be gaining steam against Sen. Joe Lieberman (I?-CT), as more than 43,000 have signed a petition asking Democrats to strip him from his committee chairmanships. Today the group will deliver stacks of petitions to Debbie Stabenow and other members of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee in the Senate to ask that Lieberman be kicked out of the Democratic caucus, a spokesman for the group told First Read. They will be gathering for news conference at 11:00 am on Capitol Hill, and Matt Stoller of OpenLeft will be a spokesperson.
THE BIG PICTURE. ABC takes a long look at the decision looming for both candidates. "No clear front-runner or favorite has emerged on either side, and in the complex calculus of the vice presidential selection process, the end result usually defies all the equations -- sometimes with less than stellar results."
CHATTERING CLASS. Steve Kornacki writes that McCain's options seem to be dwindling if he seeks an "outside-the-box" choice, with perhaps Joe Lieberman the only one who could fit the bill.
Ed Gilmore calls Napolitano the "other 'other woman,'" and thinks she would be an asset by giving McCain trouble in his own back yard.
A longer profile of Napolitano calls her wonky and charismatic, but hints that she may be more interested in becoming Attorney General.
The Huffington Post and netroots crowd is still getting over Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).