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Tim Kaine and Tim Pawlenty in the early round of "Veep Idol'

June 8, 2008 | 11:15 am

Now that Barack Obama and John McCain have only to give their acceptance speeches before losing the adjective "presumptive" before the words "presidential nominee," attention is naturally turning to their choices for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

McCain, of course, wrapped the GOP nomination weeks ago and spent Memorial Day weekend with several possibilities --  Florida Gov. Charlie Crist , Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. It took Obama until last Tuesday to get the final delegates to put him over the top, but he has named a committee (including Caroline Kennedy) to offer recommendations for a running mate.

Two potential veep contenders -- Tim Kaine, the Democratic governor of Virginia, and Tim Pawlenty, the Republican governor of Minnesota -- were interviewed this morning on "Fox News Sunday"  ...

... where host Chris Wallace welcomed them with a smooth bit of cross-promotion for another Fox show: "Consider this something of an 'American Idol' audition, because I'm sure they're watching back at campaign headquarters."

Each supported his candidate's views on a variety of topics: the role of swing states (like the ones they lead) in the general election campaign, the economy, energy prices, foreign policy and healthcare. And each, of course, demurred when asked about the possibility of joining the national ticket:

KAINE: I think probably it would be hard for anybody to say no under a situation like that.  But I'm not expecting it, not counting on it, certainly didn't endorse the senator with any plan to get anything out of it.  I just want to help him win, because I think our nation needs change.

and

PAWLENTY: If somebody came to me and said that, of course, it would be an honor to be mentioned, honor to be asked.  It would be difficult to turn that down.  But I don't have any designs, and it's not why I'm such a great and strong promoter of Sen. McCain.

So how did they do? Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell weren't available for comment, but Wallace closed out the segment with these words: "I must say, as far as I'm concerned, you both did great in your 'American Idol' audition.  It's on to Hollywood."

-- Leslie Hoffecker

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