(ORLANDO, FLA.) Barack Obama's brief, but obvious mention of Joe Biden this morning is sure to fuel rumors that he could be chosen as the running mate. While addressing the VFW annual conference, Obama spoke about the conflict in Georgia, calling for foreign aid to the region.
"We must help Georgia rebuild what has been destroyed," Obama said conveniently adding, "That is why I'm proud to join my friend, Senator Joe Biden, in calling for an additional $1 billion in reconstruction assistance for the people of Georgia."
By uttering the name of his Senate colleague from Delaware, Obama caused the press corps and some veterans in the audience to perk up a bit. Is this a sign of what's to come? Obama-Biden '08?
Ok, Biden did just return from a diplomatic trip to Georgia and the praise may be warranted, but with just a week before the Democratic Convention, it's hard not overanalyze the shout-out.
For days now, the press and many campaign staffers, have been working on their own V.P. prediction. The formula first consisted of a close dissection of Obama's schedule. New Mexico on Monday = Bill Richardson? Virginia on Wednesday = Tim Kaine? But, would the Obama campaign really publish such a precious secret on their public schedule? Probably not.
My formula consists of asking everyone on the campaign trail who and when Obama will pick his running mate. Robert Gibbs, senior strategist, enlightened me with an, "Only time will tell." Another staffer told me to keep my phone close; "We may all find out via text message." A visibly annoyed secret service agent brushed me off with a, "I don't know, Maria, I can't say!"
Even the veterans at the conference today had their own hunches.
"I had thought, actually, that it will be Hillary Clinton," Reginald Elzey, a Vietnam vet, predicted adding, "it'll probably happen soon and it will be her."
Vivian Friedman, who is attending the conference with her war veteran boyfriend, predicted that Obama will settle on Joe Biden.
"It will probably be on Thursday," she said explaining that Biden may add an "element of maturity" to the ticket.
Despite all the guesses, we probably won't know who Obama's running mate will be until he actually makes the announcement. In the meantime, the V.P. guessing game has added some excitement to the summer doldrums.