McCain and Obama look for mates

WASHINGTON - As speculation mounts, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are narrowing their choices for vice presidential running mates with their nominating conventions just weeks away.

WASHINGTON - As speculation mounts, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are narrowing their choices for vice presidential running mates with their nominating conventions just weeks away.

Current and former governors and senators seem the most serious contenders, though most of those mentioned are playing coy about any discussions with either campaign.

The choices were expected to carry special weight with voters in this election: McCain would be the oldest person elected to a first term as US president and Obama may be looking for a more experienced running mate since he has just four years on the national political stage.

With the Democratic national convention less than a month away, there were growing indications that senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has been ruled out or slipped to near the bottom of the Illinois senator's short list.

Campaign watchers now are looking to Virginia's Democratic governor Tim Kaine, who on Tuesday refused to confirm media reports that he had given the Obama campaign his financial records for review.

"I'm just not going to talk about my conversations with the campaign," he said after appearing on a Washington radio station.

McCain has likewise kept his decision-making under tight wraps and potential running mates have been just as evasive.

Minnesota's Republican Tim Pawlenty said he had decided to stop answering questions about a spot on McCain's ticket because of all the gossip.

Among others believed to be getting close looks were Indiana senator Evan Bayh, Delaware senator Joe Biden and Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius for Obama.

And for McCain, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Ohio Republican Rob Portman are believed in the running.

Obama met on Tuesday with top aides and his search committee in Washington for the second time in as many days, and at least the third time this month. - Sapa-AP

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