John McCain may have joked on Saturday Night Live that Democrats should hedge their bets and keep their presidential nominee options open until the Democratic National Convention, but it’s expected that in the interests of finally showing some party unity, we’ll see Hillary forced out of the race by June at the latest.

Speculation is already heating up as to why she hasn’t withdrawn already — one suggestion is that she’s positioning herself for another tilt at president in 2012 should Obama fall to McCain. But the question generating the most buzz at the moment is who will earn the VP slot on the two major tickets. McCain’s said to already have a shopping list of three front runners, but Obama’s camp is being much quieter.

Democratic VP As the race for the Democratic nomination reaches its last days, the talk about who will fill the vice president slot on the ticket is heating up again. There are still some democrats hoping to hedge their bets with an Obama/Hillary ticket, as the New York Times reports. But ABC News says Obama is looking further afield in the ironically titled piece“Obama Begins Secret Search for VP”. Reports from the US are light on any details of who the Obama camp is considering, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ruled out a tilt at VP, saying she already has the best job in the world. — Beyond the Dome

Republican VP Compared to the Democrats, the Republicans had an easy ride to choose their presidential nominee, and now they’re on the lookout for a VP nominee too. The New York Times reports that three hopefuls will meet with McCain at his ranch this week. The role call is claimed to be Florida governor Charlie Crist, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and onetime rival for the Republican nomination. — New York Times

Executive Powers George W. Bush’s extraordinary use of executive powers during his tenure is set to become a campaign issue on both sides of politics, with Barack Obama yesterday echoing McCain’s pledge last week to rein in executive powers. “Both of the likely presidential nominees are now trying to distance themselves from one of President Bush’s most controversial uses of executive power: using signing statements to declare that, in effect, he’ll treat certain provisions of new laws as optional if he thinks they encroach on his presidential powers.” — Beyond the Dome

Hillary 2012? Obama’s won the delegate numbers game, but Hillary is still talking. Why? Some are suggesting she’s gearing up for a second bite of the cherry in 2012. David Corn suggests that should Obama lose to McCain, Clinton will try to position herself as a “vindicated politician” and “the better candidate” to launch a bid for president in 2012. One wonders if even the staggering fundraising ability of the two Clintons could pull off a second campaign for the democratic nomination. — David Corn

Anti-spin Barack Obama’s new senior advisor for his presidential campaign, retired ABC correspondent Linda Douglass is trying to position the Obama campaign as a spin-free zone. “My intention is that I won’t spin,” she says. “I absolutely vow that I will tell the truth.” Brave words, but can a cynical electorate truly believe them? Do the democrats have a CJ Cregg on their hands? We can only hope. — TVNewser [via Trevor Cook]. 

Old school spin In the more traditional vein of spindoctoring, Trevor Cook points to some tips you can pick up on how to seduce the media from the masterful John McCain and his campaign:

“McCain asks [reporter] Joe about his kids, by name, then recommends a new book he’s been reading—something unexpectedly literary (I.B. Singer’s short stories?). Seamlessly, he mentions an article Joe wrote—not last week, but in 1993!

The reporter has never voted for a Republican in his life. But he’s a goner.”

The anecdote was drawn from a feature in The New York Review of Books.

You’ve been YouTubed It could probably be done to any politician, but someone’s done it to John McCain this time. The “we suspect they’re Democrat voters” behind www.theREALMcCain.com have published an amusing video called “McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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