McCain Polls on Pro-Choice Vice President

McCain's team is polling big shots, even radio hosts, on their reaction to a pro-choice running mate.

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The McCain campaign is not shooting down reports to Washington Whispers that senior aides are polling top donors, delegates, and even radio talk show hosts for their reaction to a pro-choice running mate. "We are in constant contact with our donors and supporters and it wouldn't be at all surprising if people were soliciting their thoughts about any aspect of the campaign," said a McCainiac on background. Our sources suggest that the questions were a way to float the possibility that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was in the running for the No. 2 slot, though Republican Party officials said later that Ridge was not on the veep list. Others believe that the pro-choice question is an indication that McCain is seriously considering independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, a close friend and former Democratic vice presidential candidate. That, however, would anger conservatives who for the first time are sounding enthusiastic about McCain. He was strong on their issues during Saturday's TV "debate" at the Saddleback Church. (It might also spoil McCain's latest fundraising letter that references his performance.) Some conservatives went so far today as to suggest that the McCain camp was raising the issue of naming a pro-choice running mate just as a way to woo moderates, even though he has no intention of doing so. And it all comes as we are receiving word from Republican and conservative officials that pro-life Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has moved to the top of McCain's vice presidential short list.