While the vice presidential slot may be John McCain's best means of wooing those Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters who remain loathe to embrace Barack Obama, the Republican party is a thin source of politically viable women, leaving McCain with few top-tier options.
The most-mentioned potential running mates -- former Republican candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- are all men. Yet no clear front-runner has emerged, and there are at least three women McCain might select to fill out the ticket. All three would mark a symbolic turn away from Vice President Dick Cheney, the ultimate D.C. old-boys-club insider.
One obvious choice is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She's as near to Cheney on policy as she is far from him symbolically. Rice, however, has consistently denied interest. While such denials are par for the course for prospective veeps, if Rice is indeed out of the mix, that would leave McCain with three other likely female running mates to consider: