Vice President Dick Cheney will not make an appearance at the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul next month, according to sources in his office. Cheney has not sought a speaking slot at the convention, nor has his staff sought a role for him at the convention.
The McCain campaign has not gone out of its way to reach out to Cheney, though a segment of conservative Republicans had been pressing the campaign to include Cheney in the convention agenda.
"Conservatives still think highly of him and are enthusiastic supporters whenever he speaks," says a leading conservative who has spoken to the campaign about Cheney. "For a campaign that has largely failed in reaching out to conservatives, reaching out to Cheney wouldn't be a bad idea."
McCain and Cheney famously do not get along, and with McCain's focus being almost exclusively on attracting independents and women to the polls, it's not a surprise that engaging Cheney isn't on the top of his list.
Democrat House members were telling close associates late last week that senior Obama campaign aides were hinting that Virginia governor Tim Kaine was the pick of Sen. Barack Obama for the vice-presidential nomination.
That comes just as word has spread -- mainly by his own people -- that Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, an unknown to most Americans, is considered a top candidate for Sen. John McCain's vice-presidential pick. Cantor is viewed as a conservative in the vein of Ronald Reagan, but unlike other high-profile GOPers in the House, he has little or no legislative or policy hallmarks to inform the general public.
"He's great with PR and having his staff post on blog sites and jumping on the bandwagon for issues, but when it comes to actually getting those issues framed and set up, he hasn't done much heavy lifting," says an aide to Rep. Roy Blunt, the House GOP whip. "His strength is fundraising and as a face for the camera. And that's probably what McCain needs right now."
Cantor is a prolific fundraiser, however, particularly along the "K Street" corridor in Washington. Those ties to lobbyists are largely what has the McCain campaign concerned and are the focus of the campaign's vetting.
At a time when Olympics host Communist China, which in the past several years has hacked the Pentagon's communications network and stolen human rights data from congressional computer hard drives, is coming under increasing pressure from conservatives and segments of the media, some conservatives are coming to the Chi-Com's defense.
In the past several weeks columnist Robert Novak, a conservative well known to be soft on mainland China for free-trade reasons, has published a broadside attack against Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, a member of House GOP leadership and leading voice in the anti-Chi-Com Caucus.
Just a day after McCotter helped lead what amounted to a sit-in on the House floor after the Democrats shut down debate on oil drilling legislation, a staffer for the White House Writers Group, which has done work for from pro-Chi-Com-U.S. trade organizations, has also indirectly attacked McCotter, criticizing in a Wall Street Journal online commentary the work of the Republican Policy Committee, which he chairs.
Given China's actions against the United States government, as well as the current beating it is taking over its clamp down on speech, travel, and association for the Olympics (for example, the Chi-Coms spent days forcing bars and nightclubs around Beijing to agree to bar black athletes from entering their establishments), some House members are feeling uncomfortable with their "free trade" position on China.
"We're going to have re-think some of this, I think, leading into the election," says one House member well known as a supporter of free trade with China. "The balancing act we've been able to make is becoming a bit more untenable as China's behavior in other areas becomes more apparent to voters. The Olympics may be the last straw."