This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from July 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ROBERT NOVAK, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I got a suggestion from a very senior McCain aide late yesterday afternoon that he was going to announce it this week. They didn't want it to come out the way it was going to come out, and they suggest that I put it out.

JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're just going through the process, and I'm going to try to make the decision in the best possible fashion. But when I make it, it will come.


BRIT HUME, HOST: What are they talking about, those two guys? Well, they're talking about the vice presidential selection, when the buzz started by Bob Novak's report that appeared on the Web that was going to come this week.

So let the games begin here. First of all, does anybody believe it's going to come this week? Nobody believes that, OK. When it does come, Charles, what are your thoughts about who it will be for McCain?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Considering the job isn't worth a pitcher of one' spit, to quote a former vice president John Garner(ph).

JEFF BIRNBAUM, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: That's not exactly what he said.

HUME: It's pretty close.

KRAUTHAMMER: I know. I cleaned it. We're on television here. It's a family program.

All the implications that McCain has to do this now as a way to distract attention because the media are swooning over Obama and giving him all that coverage is a little bit childish. It's a way of saying look at me. I suspect that's why Novak got this leak, so there's a little bit of a buzz on this.

I think it's a mistake for McCain to try to step into Obama's week. It is his week. It is going to be his week not matter what. There is going to be a rally in Berlin.

HUME: Are you going to play or not? Who?

KRAUTHAMMER: Of course it's going to be Romney. It has to be Romney.

HUME: Why?

KRAUTHAMMER: Because he is a no-lose proposition. There's no risk. Jindal is too young, inexperienced. Romney has economic experience. He's been vetted. He has no skeletons in his closet. He doesn't even drink coffee.

That helps if you've got a guy who is going to be your running mate. He is young, energetic. He could take over. He's got everything that's required. And, apparently, the hostility between him and McCain has diminished.

HUME: Who is your best pick?

BIRNBAUM: I think it's Romney as well, mostly because of his expertise on economic and financial matters, being a long-time corporate executive, turning around companies. I think, that that's the kind of backup that McCain needs.

It also will help him with his conservative backers. And Romney is now, because he ran an spent more than $40 million of his own money during the Republican primaries, he is pretty well known, too. So I think so.

But we also have to, I think, keep our eye on Tom Ridge, the former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, the first Homeland security Secretary. I think that ridge is a dark horse in this, and Pennsylvania is a very, very, very important state.

HUME: Do you think he could bring that state?

BIRNBAUM: Among Republicans, he probably has the best chance. And it's close, and it's a very important state if McCain is going to have a chance.

But the reason we're talking about all this now is that we are in the dog days of summer, I think. And—

HUME: Don't remind us. We got to go outside in a few minutes.

Bill, your thoughts?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There was actually more consideration about doing a stepped-up V.P. pick earlier in the McCain camp, and I realized that I think they're not going to do it this next week. I think they're open to doing it in the next couple of weeks before the Olympics.

I think what McCain might do this week, incidentally, is challenge Obama to a debate on Iraq or on the Middle East and the war on terror when he gets back.

He has just been in Iraq. That's great. He's been in Afghanistan for the first time. He met with General Petraeus, which he hadn't done before.

Senator McCain, I gather, might say in the next couple of days, senator Obama, when you get back, let's just have a debate, just the two of us up there with a moderator and none of these silly ground rules. Let's really thrash out our competing positions on Iraq.

In terms of the V.P., coming to grips with the fact that my heart throb, Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska is probably not going to be picked. I don't know if I can make it through the next three months without her on the ticket.

HUME: She must be something. I don't know the lady. I would like to meet her.

KRISTOL: She is a very fine governor.

But think Tom Ridge actually is—

HUME: It must have been some salmon.

KRAUTHAMMER: As Alaska goes, so goes America!

HUME: So, who?

KRISTOL: Tom ridge, I think.

HUME: You think?


HUME: Why do you say that?

KRISTOL: I think Romney would be reasonable. McCain very much likes and respects Ridge.

HUME: Nobody thinks Jindal will be the guy?


HUME: Why not. Why not Jindal? Bill, why not Jindal?

KRISTOL: I like Jindal. I think they will go for the older, safer, and double down on experience and gravitas against Obama.

BIRNBAUM: I think Jindal may be too young for McCain. He is still in his 30's.

HUME: Even younger than Obama.

BIRNBAUM: Yes, even younger than Obama.

HUME: With exactly the same amount of experience, though.

BIRNBAUM: In number of years, that right—in Washington.

KRAUTHAMMER: Jindal is a Hail Mary, and McCain is tied. You only throw a Hail Mary when you are way behind. It's too risky.

HUME: Good point.

All right, that's it for the panel.

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