Pawlenty, Romney Out of Running for Veep

McCain to announce his running mate today

DENVER - Two of the leading candidates to be John McCain's vice presidential pick — Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — appear to be out of the running, NBC News reported Friday.

Pawlenty has been told he won't be chosen by McCain, according to NBC's David Gregory. And Romney won't be at today's Ohio rally with McCain, NBC's Chuck Todd reported. Romney spent Thursday courting donors in California.

Earlier in the day, Pawlenty downplayed his chances.

"I'm not going to be there. I plan to be at the state fair. You can draw your conclusion from that," Pawlenty said on his weekly call-in radio show on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.

Friday's developments raised the possibility that others, such as former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge or Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, could be named, or that McCain could choose a wild card candidate from any number of prospects, including Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, that have been mentioned since he clinched the GOP nomination in March.

Republicans kick off their national nominating convention next week in St. Paul, Minn., and McCain's campaign hopes the announcement of his running mate will stunt any momentum that Democratic rival Barack Obama might get from the just concluded Democratic National Convention.

McCain was mum on the subject Thursday as he and his wife, Cindy, boarded a plane in Phoenix bound for Dayton.

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