Clock ticks on VP choices

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Imagine that you are a top adviser to Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton. The Republican National Convention begins in less than three weeks. The Democratic National Convention is the next week. When do you roll out your choice for VP?

Looking at the calendar, one would think that doing something before the July Fourth weekend might not be the best idea – lots of people simply unplug from the news and spend more time by the pool or the barbeque.

Over the years, we’ve seen some candidates pick their VP just before a convention starts, like Bob Dole picking Jack Kemp three days before the gavel fell in San Diego in 1996.

In 2008, Barack Obama picked Joe Biden just three days before the start of the Democratic convention in Denver.

That same year, John McCain announced his choice of Sarah Palin on the morning after the Democratic convention had ended.

It stole the thunder from Obama at that moment – but didn’t turn around the election.

Hillary Clinton will have to make a similar choice on timing, as the major party conventions are back-to-back again in 2016: the Republicans go first on July 18 in Cleveland, while the Democrats drop the gavel a week later in Philadelphia.

For the Democrats – does Clinton try to get the jump on Trump – and pick first? Or do you wait until the GOP convention is over before announcing your running mate?

For Trump – how long do you keep the suspense going?

In 2012, Mitt Romney made his pick of Paul Ryan over two weeks before the start of the GOP convention. We’re basically at that point right now.

There is no right answer on timing in this parlor game. But what you want is a choice that’s not only well accepted, but one that isn’t drowned out by other news.


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