Republican insiders are floating the name of Michael Steele, the black former Maryland lieutenant governor and Senate candidate. "He's got it all plus he has more executive experience than Barack Obama," says one advocate. Steele ran a highly praised, folksy Senate campaign in 2006, in a year when President Bush's bad poll ratings dragged down Republicans in Democratic states. That year, Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich also lost his bid for a second term in Annapolis. His advocates say that besides offering Sen. John McCain diversity, he displays youth and vigor and adds to the senator's straight-talk theme. He currently runs GOPAC.
By Paul Bedard