In veep search, McCain asks Cantor for records
By BOB LEWIS
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — John McCain’s campaign has asked Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor for personal documents as the Republican presidential candidate steps up his search for a running mate, The Associated Press has learned.
Cantor, 45, the chief deputy minority whip in the House, has been mentioned among several Republicans as a possible running mate for McCain. A Republican familiar with the conversations between Cantor and the McCain campaign said Cantor has been asked to turn over documents, but did not know specifically what records were sought.
The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the McCain campaign nor Cantor’s office wishes to discuss the running mate selection process.
Cantor through a spokesman declined to comment. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said the campaign would have “no comment on anything related to the vice presidential issue.”
With just weeks till the national conventions, McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama have knuckled down in their search for vice presidential candidates. They have been regularly huddling behind closed doors with a small circle of advisers to examine the backgrounds and records _ and weigh the political implications _ of at least a handful of prospects.
Cantor has been a visible McCain surrogate for weeks, appearing frequently on cable news outlets chiefly to promote McCain’s positions on domestic and economic issues. He has been a forceful critic of Democrat Barack Obama’s resistance to lifting the federal ban on oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Cantor has strong support among the party’s conservatives, perhaps comforting a segment of the GOP base that has been reluctant to embrace McCain, who has often been at odds with members of his own party on several issues, including a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, federal funds for embryonic stem cell research and campaign finance reform.
Since his four terms in the Virginia House of Delegates starting in the early 1990s, Cantor has been part of the anti-tax wing of Virginia’s Republican Party. His longtime advocacy for business and corporate interests in the General Assembly earned Cantor the derisive nickname “Overdog” from Democrats in Richmond.
Cantor is Jewish and is among Israel’s most avid congressional supporters. His addition to the ticket could help the GOP win over Jewish votes this year. If McCain wins, Cantor would become the first Jewish vice president.
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