There's a report over at U.S. News and World Report that Mike Huckabee is on McCain's short list for VP. Sounds like a trial balloon to me, but read below:
Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and defeated contender for the GOP presidential nomination, is currently at the top of John McCain's short list for a running mate. At least that's the word from a top McCain fundraiser and longtime Republican moneyman who has spoken to McCain's inner circle.
The fundraiser is less than thrilled with the idea of Huckabee as the vice presidential nominee, and many economic conservatives-turned off by the populist tone of Huckabee's campaign and his tax record as governor-are likely to share that marked lack of enthusiasm. But here is the logic of picking Huckabee:
1. He is a great campaigner and communicator who could both shore up support in the South among social conservatives and appeal to working-class voters in the critical "Big 10" states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
2. As any pollster knows, voters search for candidates who "care about people like me," and Huckabee would probably score a lot higher on that quality than millionaire investor Mitt Romney. Plus, given all the turmoil on Wall Street, 2008 would seem to be a bad year to pick a former investment banker for veep.
3. Economic conservatives and supply-siders may balk, but the threat of four years of Obamanomics and higher investment, income, and corporate taxes might be enough to keep them on board.
Let me add that a top Republican political strategist told me about a month ago that he also believed Huckabee to be the leading veep contender.
John McCain's sell to Evangelical Christians would get a whole lot easier with Huckabee on the ticket. If Huckabee does get the nod you can probably take that as a sign that the McCain camp is concerned about Evangelical drop off in the General. Yes, November may be about attracting the Independent voter but McCain can't lose too much of the Evangelical base. Huckabee can help with Evangelicals, Independents and young voters too.