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McCain gears up to name running mate

Latest update : 2008-08-23

As the Republican party prepares for its convention in Minnesota, media speculation about John McCain's potential running mates is running rife. A couple of names have cropped up over the last months.

See our special report: The race to the White House

Brief portraits of possible Republican vice presidential candidates, as presumptive party presidential nominee John McCain gets ready to name a running mate.

Mitt Romney

The former governor of Massachusetts lost out to McCain in the primary race, but is seen as a possibility because he could bring economic expertise to the ticket as a self-made multi-millionaire businessman.

Romney, 61, poured millions of his own dollars into his campaign, but was undone by charges he was a "flip-flopper" who ditched previous liberal positions to appease powerful social conservatives.

He clashed bitterly with McCain several times, but they seem to have patched up their rows for mutual political benefit, and Romney, a native of Michigan may bring useful prestige in that key swing state.

Credited with saving the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from financial ruin, Romney is also a Mormon, a faith viewed with suspicion by evangelical voters.

Tim Pawlenty

The 47-year-old governor of swing state Minnesota has appeared to build a rapport with McCain during a string of campaign trail appearances, and he has known the Arizona senator for 20 years.

Would offer a youthful contrast with the 71-year-old Republican presidential candidate on the age issue, and his blue collar background could help in the struggle for working class votes, a key constituency in November's election.

One knock on Pawlenty however may lay in his lack of national security experience. McCain, conscious of his own age, and several bouts with skin cancer may be looking for someone with more expertise in the area.

Rob Portman

The former US trade representative and congressman would offer McCain cover both on economics, a perceived liability, and on the international stage.

Portman, 52, also hails from the crucial swing state of Ohio, which McCain must pull into his column if he is to win the White House in November.

However, Portman is reputedly little known even across his own state and more widely across the United States, and may face name recognition problems.

His close identification with the Bush administration -- he was also director of the Office of Management and Budget, may also provide an opening for Democrats keen to saddle McCain with current economic woes.

Mark Sanford

Governor of South Carolina, 48, is a favorite of conservatives and would help McCain patch up his differences with that crucial Republican constituency.

He is also known for fiscal stringency, which would be a good fit for McCain who has mounted crusades against government overspending.

Sanford may also shore up McCain in southern states, where Democrat Barack Obama is making at least a show of competing, even on solid Republican ground.

He backed McCain in March after declining to endorse a candidate during the primary season, but his lack of national security credentials might count against him.

Charlie Crist

Charismatic governor of Florida, the crucial swing state which has the potential, as in 2000, to decide the election.

Crist, 52, would bring ample popularity in his state and a formidable political machine to the ticket, and is a good retail politician, known for connecting with crowds at political events.

Some observers question whether Crist would sit well with conservatives, though he would likely be embraced by the powerful pro-business bloc of Republicans. His pro-environment stance mirrors McCain's and he played a huge role in McCain's primary win in the state by endorsing him.

Date created : 2008-08-23