McCain has chosen VP, Friday at noon (Update)

Seems to be official now, John McCain has chosen his vice presidential running mate and the person will soon be notified. The choice will be revealed at a campaign rally on Friday at noon eastern to steal some thunder coming from the Democratic convention.

Report from Politico:

Sen. McCain has chosen his running mate and the person will be notified on Thursday, a senior campaign official said.

A friend said McCain had pretty much settled on his selection early this week, and it crystallized in the past few days. Campaign manager Rick Davis flew to McCain’s cabin in Sedona, Ariz., a few days ago to confer, and another meeting about the choice was held with top aides Wednesday.

The news leaked on the third night of the Democratic National Convention, detracting attention from speeches by former President Bill Clinton and the Democratic ticket mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.

McCain’s selection process has been conducted mostly in secret, but officials said he was considering one or more candidates who support abortion rights. The disclosure set off a fracas on the right wing, with talk-show host Rush Limbaugh saying such a selection would destroy the party.

McCain is planning to roll out his vice presidential nominee in three battleground states this weekend, with large-scale rallies planned for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri, according to aides and advisers.

The GOP nominee-in-waiting will move to immediately change the campaign conversation from Barack Obama’s football stadium acceptance speech Thursday to the new Republican ticket, to be revealed at a noontime Friday rally in a Dayton, Ohio, basketball arena. McCain and his running mate will then travel by bus to Pennsylvania, where they’ll hold an outdoor event at a minor league baseball stadium in Washington County, just southwest of Pittsburgh. On Sunday, the duo will head to suburban St. Louis for another event to be held at a minor league baseball stadium, this one in O’Fallon, Mo.

McCain’s communications director on Fox News discussing the veep issue:

Will keep you posted and awaiting the Friday morning announcement. No fancy text message, just a campaign event appearance by the new ticket on Friday at 11am eastern.

Update

The official day and time for McCain to reveal his VP choice is Saturday around noon at a campaign event in Dayton, Ohio. However, word is now that the name may be released tonight in lieu of Obama’s acceptance speech.

Report from Yahoo News:

DENVER – Republican presidential candidate John McCain decided on a running mate early Thursday, and one top prospect, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, abruptly canceled numerous public appearances.

The Arizona senator will appear with his No. 2 at an Ohio rally on Friday, aides said, though they provided no details on who McCain had picked.

Without explanation, Pawlenty called off an Associated Press interview at the last minute, as well as other media interviews in Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention.

Others believed to be in contention for the No. 2 slot on the GOP ticket included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was meeting with donors throughout California, and Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who was vacationing on New York’s Long Island.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, too, was still a possibility, as was the idea that McCain would choose a dark horse from any number of names that have circulated.

McCain, however, was uncharacteristically silent.

As McCain and his wife, Cindy, boarded a plane in Phoenix bound for Dayton, Ohio, reporters shouted a barrage of questions at the senator about whether he’d made up his mind. McCain wasn’t biting. He flashed a double thumbs-up and boarded the plane.

Earlier, he played coy.

In an interview aired Thursday morning, McCain said he still hadn’t made up his mind. Far from quieting speculation, this only fueled it as he sought to siphon attention from Democrat Barack Obama’s acceptance of the presidential nomination in Denver.

Will update when news is released concerning the leak or concerning the Friday event.

Update

Video report from MSNBC:

No leak tonight, probably just a tease. We’ll find out Friday around noon but I’m betting it will be leaking Friday morning already. I’m thinking either Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney.

Update

Surprise! It’s Sarah Palin of Alaska! Read more from the official story:

Official: McCain picks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as VP