John McCain kept his vice presidential pick a closely guarded secret hours before the high-stakes announcement Friday as top prospects seemed to drop away and speculation moved to darkhorse candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Two GOP strategists close to the McCain campaign said all indications pointed to Palin, a self-styled "hockey mom" and political reformer. The strategists spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the McCain camp to discuss the matter. There was no confirmation from McCain or his advisers, though CNN said it had confirmed the choice.
With an announcement scheduled in Dayton, Ohio, an associate of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the governor had been informed he is not McCain's pick. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for Pawlenty, who had all but ruled himself out.
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