McCain Is Urged to Choose Female VP

John McCain may soon find himself under pressure to pick a woman as his running mate.

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John McCain may soon find himself under pressure to pick a woman as his running mate.

Party strategists and even a few of his own outside advisers want the 71-year-old to consider a woman because it would soften his edge and help cut the gender gap that could favor the Democrats this year with either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Among the names some are offering up are two fellow senators, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Texas's Kay Bailey Hutchison. Others are looking beyond Washington for names, including state and local governments and corporate headquarters.

One hang-up with picking either Dole or Hutchison, said a GOP strategist and fundraiser, is that a ticket with two senators wouldn't provide a picture of broad experience. But if wouldn't matter, he said, if Clinton and Obama team up, as some suspect will occur if the Democrats' delegate fight continues into their convention.

—Paul Bedard