McCain celebrating Memorial Day with veepstakes barbecue?

Aides say there's no particular significance to the guests invited to McCain's ranch this weekend, even though several are potential running mates.

Topics: 2008 Elections, War Room, Charlie Crist, Mitt Romney, John McCain, R-Ariz., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., Bobby Jindal, Florida Senate Race,

John McCain is having another high-profile barbecue this weekend. This time, instead of reporters, the guests will be some of the people most frequently mentioned as his potential running mates, including Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Charlie Crist of Florida, as well as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who had been a bitter rival of McCain’s earlier this year.

That those people would be heading to McCain’s Arizona ranch was first reported by the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, who presented it as a clear sign that McCain is beginning the search for someone to share his ticket in earnest. But Bloomberg’s Edwin Chen was able to add the detail about the barbecue, and some pushback against the story from the McCain camp. Chen quotes Mark Salter, a senior McCain aide, as saying, “It’s just social. There’s no connection to the vice presidential process.” And McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds told Chen, “Certainly Senator McCain has hosted barbecues at his house before. All the attendees are social friends of John McCain’s.”

Chen also reports that other guests will include Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who also ran for the Republican nomination this year, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of McCain’s.

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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