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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

McCain Still Open to Pro-Choice Veep?

RNC deputy chairman Frank Donatelli seems to be disputing this much talked about Fox News story from last week, which claimed:
"... Republican National Committee officials said Tuesday that McCain is no longer considering former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.
During a blogger conference call earlier today, when asked about the Fox story, Mr. Donatelli strongly disputed the notion that the RNC has a voice in deciding who McCain will select  He stated pointedly that the decision is McCain's to make -- not the RNC's.

This, of course, does not completely disprove or discount the original Fox story, which, more specifically, reported that,
"... senior McCain advisers and aides have told RNC officials that McCain “got the message” last week that choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights would not be helpful."
Conference call follow-up questions were to be directed to Patrick Hynes, McCain's top-notch blog outreach coordinator.  I still wanted to know if the Fox story was completely bogus -- or if there might be some truth in it.  "We have no comment on the Fox story," Hynes emailed me.

This was not the first time I had attempted to get a definitive answer regarding the validity of the Fox story.  During a conference call last week, McCain blogger Michael Goldfarb cut-off my question regarding the Fox story, and noted that they would have no comment.

This, of course, makes strategic sense.  On one hand, McCain's team wants conservatives to believe they have ruled out Ridge or Lieberman.  On the other hand, they do not want it to appear that conservatives strong-armed McCain into making this choice.  So they benefit from the confusion and vagueness. 

If you're keeping score ... the McCain campaign supposedly leaked the info to the RNC who supposedly leaked the info to Fox.  Clear, right???  Of course, not.  And because it wasn't an official action, but a leak, it's hard to prove -- or disprove.

But the bottom line is we do not really know whether or not McCain has, in fact, ruled out a pro-choice VP.  So I guess we have to assume this is still a wide-open selection ...

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