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Veepstakes: Kaine's up, Hillary's down

Today's Washington Post: "Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has told close associates that he has had 'very serious' conversations with Sen. Barack Obama about joining the Democratic presidential ticket and has provided documents to the campaign as it combs through his background, according to several sources close to Kaine. Sens. Evan Bayh (Ind.) and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) are also being seriously vetted by the campaign staff, according to sources with knowledge of the process."

VIDEO: While neither presidential candidate has announced a vice presidential pick yet, each has offered hints into what kind of running mate he's looking for. NBC's David Gregory reports.

Meanwhile, the New York Times' Adam Nagourney reports that "there is mounting evidence that Mr. Obama's interest in Mrs. Clinton for the post has faded considerably, if, in fact, she ever really was a strong contender to be on the ticket with him. In conversations, Mr. Obama's advisers discuss Mrs. Clinton's role at the Democratic convention next month in a way that suggests they are not thinking of her arriving in Denver as Mr. Obama's running mate."

And here go again -- evangelicals are warning McCain that picking Romney could hurt the GOP ticket. "They say Mr. Romney lacks trust on issues such as outlawing abortion and opposing same-sex marriage and because he is a Mormon. Opposition is particularly powerful among those who supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the Republican presidential primaries earlier this year. 'McCain and Romney would be like oil and water,' said evangelical novelist Tim LaHaye, who supported Mr. Huckabee. 'We aren't against Mormonism, but Romney is not a thoroughgoing evangelical and his flip-flopping on issues is understandable in a liberal state like Massachusetts, but our people won't understand that.'"

More compiled by NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger and Carrie Dann…
DEMOCRATS: Sen. Joe Biden is outlining a $50 billion crime-fighting bill to bolster community-oriented policing, fight recidivism and capture child predators.  
 
The Richmond Times-Dispatch quotes Kaine's father-in-law, former GOP Gov. Linwood Holton, who says that he originally advised the Virginia governor against the vice presidency but now is warming to the idea.  
 
REPUBLICANS: McCain wouldn't say whether he'd announce before or after the Olympics. "I can tell you that I will announce it just as soon as the process is completed but it won't be driven by any other factors, the Olympics, or any other," he said on "Larry King Live." "It will be strictly on when we can arrive at a conclusion and obviously it's tough because we have so many highly qualified individuals."   

The Wall Street Journal looks at Sen. John Thune, noting he would bring youth and experience and was an early McCain backer. "Thune has received praise from social, fiscal and evangelical conservatives, garnering a rating of 100 from the American Conservative Union in 2006, and his selection to the national ticket would quiet some of McCain's critics on the right." 
 
The case is made for Rob Portman, the quintessential Washington insider. "The first obvious impact of picking Portman would be to quiet some of the whispers -- and even a few on-the-record comments -- from the permanent political class in Washington about the mistakes McCain is making in his campaign."  
 
The head of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, said he wants Rep. Eric Cantor because he's "telegenic, a very good speaker" and could increase the Jewish vote for McCain.