CASCADE, Iowa – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) celebrated Sunday's Fourth of July holiday with Gov. Tom Vilsack (search), one of the men who could become his vice presidential running mate. Neither one said a word about the process.
"It's a great day, July 4," Kerry said, dodging one of many questions from reporters about whether he would ask the Iowa governor to be his running mate.
Asked whether he had reached a decision, Kerry said: "I made a decision — to get a drink and eat some lunch."
He did say he enjoyed campaigning with Vilsack. "I love it. It's great," Kerry said.
Vilsack also ignored shouted questions when he and his wife, Christie, marched with Kerry in a holiday parade in this eastern Iowa town on the final day of the Massachusetts senator's three-day campaign bus tour of the heartland.
"Pardon? Here, you want some candy," the governor said as he tossed a handful of sweets onto a flatbed trailer that carried inquiring reporters.
Kerry's campaign planned a patriotic holiday for Kerry and the Vilsacks.
The day started out with church in Dubuque, along with the Vilsacks' son, Jess, before the parade in Cascade. Then, Kerry, the governor and his wife stopped in Dyersville to play baseball on the field where the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" (search) was filmed. A backyard barbecue in Independence followed before the trio headed south to Cedar Rapids and the senator's third fireworks show in as many nights.
In Dyersville, Kerry corralled a dozen kids on the baseball diamond that was the set of the Kevin Costner movie in which dead baseball greats emerge from the corn fields to play ball before disappearing back into the rows of maize.
"I'm going to go out here into the field and disappear. You coming with me?" Kerry asked the kids, before the 6-foot-4-inch candidate led them into the waist-high corn beyond left field. They squatted down, disappearing from the crowd's view.
Kerry is expected to name a running mate before the Democratic National Convention opens in Boston on July 26, and has promised to do it in an e-mail to the 1 million subscribers to his campaign Web site.
Vilsack is one of several Democrats being talked about as a potential candidate.
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt and Florida Sen. Bob Graham also have been mentioned. All have campaigned with Kerry over the past several weeks.
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000, said any of those being talked about would "bring strengths to this ticket and the vision that John Kerry has of a better America here at home and a stronger more interconnected America in the world."
Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press," for advice for the candidate-to-be, Lieberman said: "Be ready. And get to it and enjoy it. It was one of the great honors and opportunities of my life."
Kerry apparently is being so secretive about it, he won't even tip his hand to his own daughter.
Vanessa Kerry, who rode the bus with her father and sister Alexandra, said she spent about 40 minutes at dinner with him last weekend "trying to tweak it out of him" — with no luck.
"I was using all sorts of reasons. I was saying, 'Dad, I'm your daughter. You have to tell me — family'. And he just laughed," she said in a televised interview.
Vanessa Kerry said whatever the decision, it would be someone who is "really going to be good for this country and is going to complement my dad well."
As the Democratic primaries got underway, Vilsack declined to endorse anyone for president. But his wife went for Kerry, campaigned for him and appeared in television ads, all of which helped him to a surprise win in the Iowa caucuses. The governor has campaigned actively for Kerry since he up the Democratic nomination.
A two-term governor and moderate Democrat, Vilsack would fit Kerry's needs if he decides to seek someone to help him win the Midwest. Vilsack was credited with helping Democrat Al Gore win the state by 1 percentage point in 2000.