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Veepstakes: Obama close to pick?

From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger and Carrie Dann
THE SHORT LIST.
Obama traveled Monday afternoon to the Washington office of Eric Holder, his vice presidential search committee chair. Campaign manager David Plouffe also joined him Monday on the road, a rare occurrence.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine "has emerged as one of the campaign's potential finalists" for vice president, Politico says. 

VIDEO: Time is running low for Barack Obama and John McCain to pick their running mates. NBC's David Gregory and Chuck Todd weigh in on the possible short lists. Also interviewed is analyst Mike Murphy.

McCain told donors that choosing a veep is a "very tough decision" and said there were many "highly qualified people" to choose from, including party "stalwarts" to governors, senators and business people.

Terry McAuliffe told "Morning Joe" that Obama picking Hillary Clinton would create a "50-state sweep" for the Democrats.

A dark horse being talked about on the McCain side is Federal Express CEO Frederick Smith, Ambinder reports. 

ON THE RECORD. McCain laid out his criteria for a veep to Bermuda donors via webcast: "You want to make sure you have a candidate that's not going to hurt the ticket," he said. "The second thing is, and I think it's the key criteria, is it someone who shares your principles, your values, your philosophy and your priorities. The hardest thing for the president is to establish priorities and I'm -- I think we're blessed with having a wealth of candidates. But I haven't -- we really aren't mentioning names."

NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports that on a conference call following a meeting with Obama economic advisors, former Sen. Bill Bradley answered "no" when asked if he would be willing to serve on the ticket.

WHAT THEY'RE DOING. Kaine has a full schedule this week that will not take him to Washington, a spokesman said. More interestingly, he is scheduled to go on a Va. beach vacation with his family all next week.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to speak Wednesday morning in Chicago before the American Legislative Exchange Council. He also plans to campaign for McCain in Iowa on Saturday.

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to return from a vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H. next week and travel 8/7 to Beijing for the Olympic Opening Games, his spokesman said. He was CEO of the Winter Games in 2002.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday will meet with T. Boone Pickens and might also join him for a public event, but otherwise plans to stay busy in Kansas, her camp says. No political events of note, and her only out of state travel is non-political as well.

NM Gov. Bill Richardson is busy handling his state's flooding damage from the remnants of Hurricane Dolly. Per his office, "Governor Richardson is scheduled to tour the flooded areas by air and by land later this afternoon." He declared Lincoln County a disaster area earlier today.

Sen. Chris Dodd will lead a hearing tomorrow on the state of the insurance industry. (Dodd chairs the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.)

Sebelius says she won't raise gasoline taxes to pay for a proposed transportation plan in home state Kansas. 

Kaine appears tomorrow on a monthly radio program with fellow metro leaders DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and MD Gov. Martin O'Malley. (WTOP, 10am). Kaine is also catching flak from his state's Republican Party Chairman, who is demanding an investigation around what he believes to be a "coordinated and widespread effort in Virginia to commit voter fraud." 
 
CHATTERING CLASS. Despite the clues from Obama's "Meet the Press" interview, don't rule out senators like Bayh, Biden and Dodd just yet, according to Chris Cillizza

Jim Geraghty offers the idea of McCain announcing his choice at the convention "with the entire political world waiting in breathless anticipation, and with all of the finalists in the convention arena, the curtain suddenly rises on..."