McCain Compiles List of Running Mates

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he has begun "getting together a list of names" to choose a vice presidential running mate, and hopes to make an announcement before the Republican convention in early September.

"I'd like to get it done as early as possible. I'm aware of enhanced importance of this issue given my age," said the Arizona senator, 71.

McCain wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination a month ago.

Interviewed by radio talk show host Don Imus, McCain did not offer any details of his search for a running mate.

"We just started this process of getting together a list of names and having them looked at," he said.

"If I had a personal preference I'd like to do it before the convention to avoid some of the mistakes that I've seen made in the past as you get into a time crunch and maybe sometimes don't make the announcement right or maybe they have not examined every single candidate."

McCain made his comments on his way to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he graduated, to deliver the third in a string of speeches in a week-long tour designed to introduce him to a wider, general election audience.

First he stopped in at an eatery in downtown Annapolis where crab omelets are on the menu and local and state politicians have gathered for decades for breakfast and shop talk. An American flag hangs over the counter with its five stools, and for nearly two decades, all business has come to a halt for a few seconds as the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.

McCain has given no hint of his thinking on a running mate, although he frequently speaks warmly of his former rivals for the nomination, particularly former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

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