By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 22, 2008
CHESAPEAKE, Va., Aug. 21 -- Sen. Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he has decided on a running mate -- but declined to provide a name, fanning already intense speculation about the choice.
"I've made the selection, and that's all you're going to get," the Democratic presidential candidate teased reporters during a stop at Virginia Favorites Ltd., a peanut and gift shop in Emporia.
The Obama campaign also joined with the campaign of Sen. John McCain in announcing that the two candidates will appear in three debates: on Sept. 26 in Oxford, Miss.; on Oct. 7 in Nashville; and on Oct. 15 in Hempstead, N.Y. A vice presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 2 in St. Louis.
The first presidential debate will focus on foreign policy and national security. The second will have a town hall format with questions coming from the audience and online, and the third will center on the economy and other domestic issues.
Although his advisers would like to wait as long as possible before overshadowing the controversy over McCain's inability to say how many houses he owns, Obama is expected to announce his vice presidential decision by Saturday. His campaign has scheduled a joint appearance in Springfield, Ill., where he announced his presidential bid more than a year and a half earlier.
It is unclear whether Obama and his vice presidential choice will travel together from there. Earlier in the campaign, advisers suggested it was likely that the running mate would travel apart from the presumptive nominee for a little bit before making a separate arrival at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
On Thursday, Obama's campaign mapped its plan for his arrival, saying he will visit battleground states between Sunday and Wednesday, when he gets to Denver. On his travel schedule: Eau Claire, Wis., on Sunday; the Quad Cities area of Iowa on Monday; Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday; and Billings, Mont., on Wednesday. He will head into Denver later on Wednesday, toward the end of the Democratic convention.
Earlier Thursday, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Obama had a quick private meeting in Richmond before making a joint appearance at an outdoor town hall meeting. Afterward, they were quiet about the substance of their talk, providing no indication whether Kaine, widely believed to be a front-runner to join the ticket, is the vice presidential choice.
"I'm going to let the campaign speak for the campaign," Kaine said when asked if Obama had talked to him about being his running mate. The two spent about 15 minutes together, an Obama aide said.