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Starting Gate: Nuggets And Gems

For a slow news week with one of the two presidential candidates on vacation, there's an awful lot going on in the political world today. From the hot-and-heavy vice presidential guessing game to the conventions, the general election and beyond, here's what's shaking up the landscape today:
  • CBS News' chief political consultant Marc Ambinder reports that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's camps are close to an agreement which might result in Clinton's name being placed in nomination alongside Obama's at the convention. According to Ambinder, Clinton has resisted such an arrangement because she fears that her stature could be diminished should she end up with fewer delegates than she had when the primaries ended. But the need for "catharsis" she talked about to supporters earlier this month appears to be on the table now.
  • In an interview with the Weekly Standard, John McCain said he would not rule out picking a pro-choice running mate. Referring specifically to former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, McCain said, "I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party. … And I also feel that--and I'm not trying to equivocate here--that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out."

  • The Washington Post looks at what the selection of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as the Democratic Convention's keynote speaker means for Tim Kaine's vice presidential chances. "Warner's selection is unlikely to be good news for current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who has been a finalist for the running mate job," the paper reports. "The prospect of two Virginia governors giving speeches on successive nights at the convention is thought to be unlikely."
  • A new Pew Research poll shows the presidential race in a statistical dead heat heading into the conventions, with Obama leading McCain 46 percent to 43 percent. That's narrowed from a 48 percent to 40 percent lead Obama held in the same poll in June.
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey will be a featured speaker at the Democratic convention, a symbolic change from what happened at the party's 1992 convention. Then, Casey's late father Robert Casey (the governor of Pennsylvania) was denied an opportunity to speak at the convention because of his opposition to abortion rights. The senator shares his father's position on the issue but has been invited to speak – no word on what topics he might address.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit back hard against Senator Joe Lieberman, who Tuesday night hammered Obama for his reaction to the situation in Georgia according to the AP. Asked about Lieberman on a call-in radio program yesterday, Pelosi responded by saying, "Joe Lieberman has said things that are totally irresponsible when it comes to Barack Obama. Here we have a leader for the future, really a great leader for the future and one that comes along only every now and then, and they know it so they have to undermine him. And one of their best weapons, of course, is someone who is considered by some to be a Democrat."
  • Chicago Sun-Times ace reporter Lynn Sweet passes along the buzz she's hearing that Delaware Senator Joe Biden is moving up Obama's VP list.
  • Former Bush Adviser Karl Rove writes in his Wall Street Journal column that there are four key states to this election – Colorado, Michigan, Virginia and Ohio. "To win," Rove writes, "Mr. Obama needs to pick up 18 electoral votes more than John Kerry received, meaning Mr. Obama must carry Colorado or Virginia and add another small state to his column. If Mr. McCain carries Michigan as well as Ohio, it would make Mr. Obama's Electoral College math very difficult. And if Mr. McCain can limit GOP losses to one or two small states from those won by the GOP in 2004, he'll be America's 44th president."