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Campaign stops add to VP speculation

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From Candy Crowley
CNN Senior Political Correspondent
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(CNN) -- In the run-up to the vice presidential announcements, a campaign stop is less about what's said than where it is; geography and choreography are clues.

Sen. John McCain begins the campaign week speaking to a national veterans group in Orlando, Florida.

Sen. Barack Obama campaigns Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Bill Richardson is the popular governor.

This week's schedules for Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain take them through states home to some of the top VP contenders. These stops are fodder for the guessing game, but they provide no concrete answers about who the No. 2 picks will be.

On the Democratic side, the VP speculation should come to an end soon: Sources said Obama will announce his choice this week.

The presumptive Democratic nominee first will send a text message to supporters, which will be followed by a series of events designed to roll into next week's Democratic National Convention with maximum excitement.

Plans are in the works for McCain to make his announcement August 29, according to GOP and campaign sources close to the presumptive Republican nominee. Video Watch more on the VP speculation »

The McCain campaign is said to be planning a big blowout in Ohio the day after the Democratic convention ends.

The campaign hopes to have 15,000 people at the Ohio rally, roughly five times the size of McCain's largest crowd to date.

Two other rallies are also in the works for that day, probably in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Campaign sources said the events are not necessarily designed to name a vice presidential candidate, though McCain's VP short list is thought to include politicians from all three of those states: former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio, Michigan native Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

Obama's schedule is under closer scrutiny since his announcement is expected to come before McCain's. Video Watch analysts weigh in on the VP picks »

Obama kicked off this week campaigning in New Mexico, a state he would love to put in the Democratic column this fall. Could Bill Richardson, the state's popular governor, be the one to hand Obama the win?

Richardson, who abandoned his White House bid in January, has spoken on Obama's behalf numerous times since endorsing the senator from Illinois in March.

In the lead-up to the announcements on running mates, Sunday talk shows are widely viewed as tryouts. Along with Richardson on Sunday, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine hit the talk-show circuit.

A couple of weeks ago, Bayh was all the rage when he campaigned with Obama. Later this week, Obama is scheduled to campaign in Virginia.

And much has been made of a counter clue: Sen. Joe Biden has been uncharacteristically quiet recently.

The senator from Delaware, just off a two-day trip to the republic of Georgia, has been quickly rising to the top tier of VP contenders. iReport.com: Who should be VP?

On Tuesday, Biden drove a white pickup truck past a group of reporters and said only: "I'm not the guy. See you."

On the Republican side, McCain spent time Monday talking to veterans in Florida, where 27 electoral votes are at stake.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is considered one of McCain's top VP contenders.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is another heavyweight in the Republican "veepstakes."

The former White House hopeful was talking the talk Sunday, telling reporters, "I've got nothing for you on the VP sweepstakes, anything in that regard ought to be directed to the McCain campaign."

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Also on the Sunday roster for McCain: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ridge and the frequently mentioned Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"I don't talk about the VP stuff, because I think it's mostly speculation, and I just have stopped talking about it," Pawlenty said.

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