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McCain: He's made up his mind

The New York Times reports that McCain "has decided on his running mate, two Republican strategists in contact with Mr. McCain's campaign said Wednesday. He is expected to reveal his choice at 11 a.m. Friday at a rally at a basketball arena in Dayton, Ohio… Republicans close to the campaign said that the top contenders remained the same three men who have been the source of speculation for weeks: former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and, possibly, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut."

Speaking of Lieberman, Politico's Martin writes that Karl Rove called the Connecticut senator to urge him to withdraw his name from VP consideration. "Lieberman dismissed the request… Lieberman 'laughed at the suggestion and certainly did not call [McCain] on it," said one source familiar with the details. 'Rove called Lieberman,' recounted a second source. 'Lieberman told him he would NOT make that call.'"

NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger yesterday wondered if McCain's three-day VP swing (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) actually rules out Lieberman since he famously doesn't campaign on the Sabbath. Yet Berger notes that the McCain schedule has the campaign leaving Dayton en route to Pittsburgh by bus on Friday beginning at 2:00 p.m. It is a four-and-a-half hour drive, so they would be able to arrive in Pittsburgh before Shabbat begins at 7:38 p.m., according to chabad.org, if they leave close to on time.
And while McCain and Lieberman are scheduled to be down most of the day Saturday, the rally in Washington, PA is scheduled for 6:00 pm. The Sabbath does not end Saturday until 8:37 p.m. It would be a long time to keep a crowd waiting, but not completely out of the realm of possibilities.

The McCain campaign released a Web video hit against Obama that's reminiscent of one he unveiled against Romney before the New Hampshire primary. It contains images of violence and terrorism and questions Obama's ability to lead.