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RUSH: Bob in Latham, New York. Thank you, sir, for your patience. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m going to bring up a subject that I think Democrats and Republicans need to at least put on the table for discussion.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: McCain has had melanoma.

RUSH: Yes.

CALLER: This is a very bad kind of a cancer, and therefore I think the choice of the Republican running mate may really be important this year.

RUSH: Well, you’re talking publicly about what a lot of them are whispering. People are talking about this, they’re just not doing so publicly because it’s not politically correct. Now, one thing before you go forward on this, I’ve read a lot about Senator McCain’s melanoma and his health prognosis, and the doctors who have operated on Senator McCain say it’s gone and he’s gone long enough without a recurrence that the odds of a recurrence continue to get less and less and less as more and more time piles up. I looked into some details on his surgery. They actually took out a lot more tissue than was infected or that was cancerous I think as a mechanism to stop it dead in its tracks, and there are a lot of people who think they have. But still, people are whispering about it, and they are saying what you just said, that’s why we need a younger vice president, hopefully somebody who’s conservative. You got somebody in mind that you like?

CALLER: Well, I personally like Romney a lot. I think that he’s very telegenic, he’s very intelligent, you know, he’s a can-do kind of a guy. I don’t mean to spout the line, but I have a lot of respect for him, and I think that he’s articulate, which is something I think we really need. But, you know, the Democrats will use the health issue to sow doubt in the electorate mind, and I think if the McCain people and the Republicans don’t put somebody who can really carry the mantle of the presidency, then that doubt will be enough that people will think they can’t choose him for four to eight years.

RUSH: Perhaps so. You may be right. I think they’ll focus on age more than they do health. There’s certainly some elements the Drive-Bys and the Democrats will sneak in the health note, but they’ll focus on age, which they’ve already been doing. But, look, the McCain camp knows this. They’re already battling this age business, they’re out making speeches his mother shows up with him in a campaign appearance today in Mississippi, and his mother was out there with him. His mother is in her nineties, and of course the message there is that he has a terrific gene pool. So they’re aware of this, I’m sure, at the McCain campaign. Now, everywhere I go, because people think I, as a powerful, influential member of the media and a well-known political analyst and figure ask me who I think McCain’s vice president nominee is. I haven’t the slightest idea, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m not wired into any campaign, and I haven’t the slightest idea, and I don’t think right now that the McCain people are even seriously thinking about it. This has not stopped Drive-By journalists from writing speculative pieces about this. On Saturday, Robert Novak floated a name that said he’s considerably high on the list, and that would be Rob Portman from Ohio. Now, I happen to know Rob Portman. He was the freshman class of 1994, a Republican. He has been in the diplomatic corps. He was a trade representative. He served in Congress, so he’s been executive, legislative, there’s two other areas in which he served — Bush 43 — oh, he’s the former OMB director, Office of Management and Budget. I met him for the first time at the orientation for the House freshmen in ’94 up in Baltimore, but I met him again at a dinner at Vice President Cheney’s house last November. He was there with his wife, and she’s a hoot. They’re quite the couple. In terms of conservatism, quality guy, good family. He would be a great pick.

Now, in terms of would he help the ticket with votes, I don’t know how many people know who he is. Another name that’s on the list is Mark Sanford, southern governor. McCain showed during the primaries when Huckabee was still in there he’s going to have a little trouble with the evangelical crowd in southern states. So the thinking is he needs a southern governor. Mark Sanford, South Carolina, is a name that pops up. However, we hear that in 2000 Mark Sanford supported McCain but did not support him in 2008, and McCain is not happy about that. This is just what people are saying. I don’t know if any of this is true, but this is the scuttlebutt that you get. Then of course the name Charlie Crist, the governor of Florida, surfaces, because of the perceived value of his endorsement of McCain during the Florida primary. But the conventional wisdom there — and of course I always go against the conventional wisdom — the conventional there is that McCain’s not going to need Crist to win Florida like he might need somebody to win Ohio or might need somebody to win southern states with a significant evangelical population.

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