Now that McCain has all but sewn up the Republican nomination, speculation can begin on who his running mate will be. Granted it will be months before anyone knows, but if you were a betting man (and I've been known to occasionally place a wager) you could do far worse than placing a bet on Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
If John McCain accepts the Republican nomination, it will be the direct result of the Florida governor's endorsement. Without Crist, McCain not only would have lost Florida, he would have lost it by double digits--and Mitt Romney would be counting down the delegates to 1,191.For Crist's part, he's downplaying VP speculation.
It's premature to talk about potential vice presidents now, but not unreasonable, given the circumstances. Crist has now proven he can deliver Florida for McCain. Surely he could do it again come November. And McCain didn't bring Crist along to campaign with him earlier this week in Arizona, California, and New Jersey just because they're buddies.
Crist has been asked about his potential vice presidency dozens of times in recent months. I asked again this weekend, and Crist was smoothly evasive. He is flattered, he says, but is concentrating on being governor of Florida.
In fact, the word has gone out across Crist's domain that VP talk is verboten. Not only is it unseemly, it's not helpful in the bigger picture. But there are slip-ups. When I asked a top Florida Republican what Crist could offer McCain's campaign in, say, Trenton, New Jersey, he replied, "What Charlie brings to the ticket ... ". He then caught himself. "What I meant was ... ".