Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama arrives in Indiana at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night and he will remain in the state until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The question of the day is whether he will leave with a running mate.
Currently, he has one event on his schedule — a town hall meeting in Elkhart, a city that has been hit hard by the auto-industry downturn, where he will be introduced by Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.
So what will Obama do with the rest of his day in Indiana?
He could, of course, sneak over to Chicago — only a couple hours drive or a few minutes flight from Elkhart — for more meetings with vice presidential prospects.
Or he could, as feverish media speculation suggests, simply announce that Bayh is his pick. The chatter went over the top last night, with various outlets — including CBS — breathlessly highlighting the fact that the Indiana senator’s staff softball team, the Bayh Partisans, had rescheduled a game.
Indianapolis Star writer Mary Beth Schneider is more measured in her assessment. Still, she noted Tuesday morning after reviewing the Obama campaign’s nearly wide-open schedule for Indiana that the presidential candidate will have “plenty of time, say, for a stop in Bayh’s hometown of Shirkieville in Vigo County or elsewhere to launch a ticket.”
The problem with the scenario is that, by most accounts, Obama is still weighing a number of prospects — and has yet to have sit-down meetings with most of them. Indeed, there is a good deal of talk at this point that — as he has taken more hits from McCain and suffered some poll fluctuation after his world tour — the presumptive Democratic nominee for president is now looking at a longer list of potential running mates.
That list is universally believed to include Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (last week’s favorite) and Bayh (this week’s favorite). But there is much talk, as well of Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. And, of course, the name of New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who Bayh actually backed for the nomination, is somewhere in the mix.
Meanwhile, back in Indiana, neither the Obama campaign nor the Bayh camp has done much to tamp down speculation that Wednesday — which is just about the last day to make a veep pick before the Olympics begin a two-week run as the dominant story of the summer’s slowest month — will be the big day.