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ELECTION 2008 | Los Angeles Times Examines Effect of Abortion Rights on McCain's Vice Presidential Pick

ELECTION 2008 | Los Angeles Times Examines Effect of Abortion Rights on McCain's Vice Presidential Pick
[Aug. 29, 2008]

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) is scheduled to announce his vice presidential pick Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the Times, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), an evangelical Christian who opposes abortion rights, "may have a leg up on several prospective running mates" -- including abortion-right supporters Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R), as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who formerly supported abortion rights but reversed his position in 2004 and now declares himself "pro-life."

The Times reports that if chosen, Pawlenty could help McCain "calm members of the party's right wing who are nervous" about McCain's stance on abortion rights. Although McCain has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade, he has "struggled in his campaign to generate enthusiasm among social conservatives" (Drogin/Reston, Los Angeles Times, 8/29).

McCain sparked controversy in an interview in The Weekly Standard earlier this month when he said he would not rule out choosing an abortion-rights supporter as his running mate. However, a new Post-ABC News poll found that selecting such a candidate for the vice presidency would be risky for McCain, who has worked hard to gain the support of conservatives (Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 8/28).

Obama Extends 'Olive Branch' to Religious Conservatives

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) "extended an olive branch to religious conservatives" in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night in Denver, "asking them to find a middle ground on divisive cultural issues," the Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" reports. Obama said, "We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country," referencing the party's platform, which calls for programs that would reduce the need for abortion and which was developed, in part, after consulting evangelical ministers who oppose abortion rights (Sataline, "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 8/29).