Novakenfreude

BALTIMORE -- The McCain campaign reacted with amusement to columnist Bob Novak's concession that his tip from a McCain source seemed too good to check out.

Officially, the campaign won't comment on Novak's report even now, and they concede that the strategy of non-response has increased attention from reporters -- although, as one veteran McCain adviser said, "I'm not sure whether that's a good thing."

Body language wise, there are no telltale wiggles. As of today, there are no unexplained gaps on his schedule. McCain hasn't really had the time to meet with his finalists -- assuming he has them -- yet.

Other campaign aides concede that a large universe of choices has been narrowed, that vetting has begun in earnest, that the usual suspects -- Crist, Romney, Pawlenty -- among others have been asked to submit information.

There are some indications that the campaign is looking to the example set by George H.W. Bush in 1988. His team deftly built up suspense. McCain, of course, is not looking to choose another Dan Quayle, and he will almost certainly interview his finalists -- the elder Bush did not.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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