Well, that Finishes Romney
By Al Giordano
(Google satellite tour of McCain's estates, courtesy of Jed.)
If Mike Huckabee's vocal opposition didn't already put the stake through the heart of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's aspirations of becoming John McCain's vice presidential running mate, the McMansion controvery that erupted today - with McCain unable to recall how many homes he has (seven, eight, ten, thirteen, and still counting) - should chop Mitt once and for all off the short list.
Romney, billionaire, already counts with a mansion in Massachusetts and additional homes in New Hampshire and Utah. And since the whole point of his possible vice presidential nomination would be to try to win over voters in the Michigan of his childhood, who knows? Romney might have already acquired another one to bolster his "favorite son" status there!
McCain now has to vet everybody else on his checklist all over again and find the one (Pawlenty?) that has only one home, or the controversy gets a whole new set of legs. (But if Pawlenty turns out to have his own housing chain, this thing may come back to Huckabee by process of elimination!)
Update: The national evening newscasts each emphasized McCain's "housing crisis" tonight. From Halperin's round-up:
ABC: ...report on housing fracas said McCain has nine homes on seven properties, listing them and showing photos. Said this is "not what McCain wants to be talking about," and the Obama campaign hope it's "highly exploitable" like Kerry's 2004 comment about troop funding. Stephanopoulos said the Obama team sees it as a seminal moment, while the McCain camp denies anyone considers McCain an elitist....
CBS: Led with news that Obama has made his veep decision, combined with coverage of McCain houses and subsequent battle. In a preview of an Obama interview with Harry Smith, Obama said his veep choice would be someone he would "feel comfortable with." Reported that McCain has "at least seven" homes "from coast to coast" and played clips from Obama and McCain Thursday ads, concluding that "the gloves are off" in the race...
NBC: ...Said McCain's "houses" remark was "the biggest political story of the day" and there's "indications" voters will hear more about it. Called McCain's answer to Politico "surprising," said for Obama it was "too good to resist" and campaign predicts working class families will have a tough time understanding it. Covered McCain response. Said "who is the more out of touch game" was a favorite of Clinton's, noted her campaigning for Obama in Florida...
Friday Morning Update: (From the airport.) The talking heads are abuzz with Halperin saying that McCain has decided to tap Romney as VP. Here's why that's not credible: McCain will have the luxury of knowing who the rival vice presidential nominee is before he has to pick his. It would be political malpractice to finalize his choice before knowing who they'll be up against, because his running mate will debate Obama's and there may be an opportunity for "counterprogramming" against any perceived weakness of the other guy's sidekick. More likely, GOP spinners are head-faking the Great Mentioners in an attempt to trick Obama into counterprogramming his choice against a possible McCain-Romney ticket. But nobody's going to fall for that. In the end, maybe McCain will be crazy enough to give Obama an opening to reach for Southern Evangelical Christians by picking Romney who many of their leaders distrust (putting various Southern states more into play), but there's no way he's finalized any veep decision already. He, like the world, is waiting on Obama's decision first.