The Associated Press is reporting that “Romney could name his running mate by the end of the week,” but it sounds like there’s less to this story than meets the eye:

Outside a Louisiana fundraiser on Monday, senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney hadn’t finalized his decision but that an announcement could come within days.

Asked specifically whether Romney could announce his vice presidential pick this week, Fehrnstrom said: “Technically it could, but the governor hasn’t made a decision. It will only happen after he makes a decision.”

Romney traveled to Louisiana to attend a private fundraiser alongside Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is among those on Romney’s short list for vice president. Romney raised an estimated $2 million at the event, where 40 donors paid $50,000 to attend.

Fehrnstrom’s comments flatly contradict the New York Times report yesterday that suggested Romney already made his decision. And his disclaimer that an announcement could “technically” come this week doesn’t exactly sound promising. Technically it could happen whenever Romney makes the choice, but why announce it so soon? The one benefit is that it could take some of the heat away from Obama’s Bain Capital attacks, but the tradeoff is that it could also mean a smaller post-convention bounce in August. The attacks on Bain will likely be blunted by the Olympic coverage later this month anyway. If history is any guide, this doesn’t seem likely to happen.

But because we’re all just speculating here, Jim Geraghty has some constructive advice: watch the campaign plane.

The Olympics’ opening ceremony is July 27, and London-related headlines are likely to dominate the following weeks. Mid-August is traditionally America’s vacation time. And then there’s the August 27 deadline. So there’s a short window to announce in the coming two weeks, or sometime after the Olympics end August 12.

My suggestion? Keep your eyes on Romney’s campaign plane at night.

As far as tea leaves go, that may be the best we’re going to get.

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