CNN National Correspondent
In the early stages of the running mate search, one process is rather private, the other very much public.
The more public approach belongs to the Obama Campaign. Members of his search committee are holding meetings with prominent Democrats to solicit ideas and advice, and, it seems, to float a few names...
Retired Marine Gen. James Jones is one of the names said to have come up during meetings this week with Democratic senators on Capitol Hill.
Those sessions are designed to give party leaders a chance to make suggestions, and to give the Obama campaign a chance to show it is reaching out beyond its inner circle for input. Plus it's a time tested tactic in politics to float a name as a "trial balloon" and watch to see how the political world reacts...
One prominent Clinton supporter often mentioned as a potential Obama running mate, Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, said Tuesday he would not accept if asked.
In an interview with NPR's "All Things Considered," Strickland said a promise to campaign vigorously for Obama now that Clinton has suspended her campaign should not be viewed as an effort to win a spot on the ticket.
"Absolutely not," Strickland said. "If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve. So, I don’t know how more crystal clear I can be."
So far, Camp McCain has taken a much more low key approach, though there was a buzz when the Arizona senator had three potential prospects out to his home recently for what the campaign insisted was a "social weekend."
His process is being led by former Reagan White House lawyer A.B. Culvahouse. The two top McCain political operatives involved are campaign manager Rick Davis and senior adviser Charlie Black.
Quietly, Davis and Black have been soliciting advice from top Republican officials, both in Congress and governors, and are known to have spoken to a few prominent party operatives.
"Lots of candid informal advice, good data and a through vetting," is how one McCain insider described the process.
This source said there is no indication a decision is close, and said the "favorites" lists among top campaign aides by no means is sure to reflect Senator McCain's thinking.
Asked for that list anyway, the McCain insider said: "Today I'd handicap– Romney, Portman, Pawlenty and Ridge in that order." As in former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Ohio Congressman and Bush budget director Rob Portman, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania governor and homeland security Secretary Tom Ridge.
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