by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Giant Sucking Sound & r & & r & That's all America's attention shifting from politics to sports starting Aug. 8. That's right, the Olympics are coming. It's great news if you're trying to find a way to watch six channels simultaneously for three straight weeks, but if you're running for president... not so much.

During the Olympics run, John McCain and Barack Obama will have a hard time breaking through the medal counts to get noticed. Pundits expect them to put off anything big until after the competition ends Aug. 24 -- although one or both could slip something in just before the opening ceremonies, like announcing a running mate.

Finally Together

One thing that will happen during the Olympics, on Aug. 16, is a joint appearance by John McCain and Barack Obama. McCain has been trying to pin Obama to a joint event for months, and finally it will happen at the Saddleback megachurch in Lake Forest, Calif. Rev. Rick Warren told the New York Times the two would appear together for a short time and then he would interview them separately. Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, says the focus will be on AIDS, poverty and the environment.

How'd he do it? "I've known both the guys for a long time," Warren told the Times, "so I just called them up."

More Veep Speculation

Like kids waiting for Christmas, the pundits are just dying to know who will get picked as sidekicks for John McCain and Barack Obama.

Over in Camp McCain, Mitt Romney seems to be gathering steam. He's got that still-youthful-but-distinguished look, he's got his hooks into all the big Republican money men and he's from a swing state, Michigan. And as Bruce Reed points out on his column, "The Has Been," the many political futures markets on the Internet have Mitt Romney's chances of becoming McCain's running mate higher than McCain's chances of winning in November. That suits Romney fine, as he's really looking at 2012.

And this week, the Washington Post ran a story naming Obama's alleged short list. Such stories are bound to be proven wrong, but for what it's worth the Post named Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh as his final four.

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