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VP Watch: The Latest in the Veepstakes

Welcome to VP Watch, NBC's roundup of the latest news about each presumptive nominee's search for a running mate.

Top headlines: The GOP

  • Trump’s vice-presidential shortlist shrank today with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst both taking themselves out of the running. In an interview on Fox News Trump insisted, however, that he was looking at 10 people for his vice president, including two generals.
  • Mike Pence has a vocal camp inside Trump Tower advocating on his behalf.
  • Newt Gingrich took to the campaign stage alongside Trump in Cincinnati on Wednesday night for the first time. Though he’s built a close relationship with Trump and members of his family, sources tell NBC News there remains some wariness among key Team Trump powerbrokers about selecting him to join the ticket.

Top headlines: The Democrats

  • Veepstakes on the Republican front was a little more eventful this Wednesday, but is it possible Clinton could be meeting with potential choices this week?

More VP News: The GOP

MIKE PENCE: NBC News is reporting on a vocal camp advocating for Trump in Trump Tower, focusing on his 12 years in Congress, four years as governor and the belief that he’d be able to solidify support in key states across the Midwest. As one source said, "The idea of selecting Pence is to target pickups in the electoral college — nominate someone who gets you geography, get his or her state in your back pocket and decreases the number of swing states because they're strong in the region.” Former Trump adviser Michael Caputo told the Indianapolis Star that Mike Pence “rings the most bells of all” the potential VP prospects. He suggested the “Republican Party has a deep bench” but put Pence at the top.

NEWT GINGRICH: Gingrich took to the campaign stage alongside Trump on Wednesday night in Cincinnati, Ohio, notably telling the crowd it also needs to elect Rob Portman back to the U.S. Senate. It’s not often that a down ballot race is mentioned from the Trump stage. NBC’s Shaquille Brewster reports that Gingrich told the Cincinnati crowd that Clinton’s emails are more “vivid proof of corruption.” The former speaker also directly called out Ohio Gov. John Kasich for having yet to endorse Trump.

Behind the scenes, NBC News is reporting that Gingrich has built a close relationship with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka and key confidante to Trump. But there’s also a coolness to selecting Gingrich for VP among a segment of the campaign, with one source noting that another prospect could “fill that role without a lot of the liabilities.” And another source within the Trump campaign told NBC News that campaign chair Paul Manafort is not enthusiastic about selecting Gingrich because he “cannot control a Gingrich, whereas he can control a Pence.”

Ed Rogers, a veteran political consultant, wrote in the Washington Postwhy Gingrich is the best option for Trump: "I think Newt Gingrich is the only person equipped to co-pilot the GOP to a crash landing that could help the party survive. A less able and more inexperienced politician would be shell-shocked, isolated and of limited value to the party if we are faced with a colossal defeat.”

BOB CORKER: After appearing with him at a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday, Corker told NBC News in an interview Wednesday that he informed Trump he wasn’t interested in the job. "I've always thought that I'm better suited for other kinds of things and I think most people who know me agree with that," Corker said, adding that Trump and his family are "most impressive.”

JONI ERNST: Sources tell NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell that Ernst informed Trump during their July 4th meeting that while she wants to be helpful to him, she doesn’t see herself as a potential running mate. She’ll speak on national security at the GOP convention later this month.

JOHN THUNE: Thune told Roll Call that he isn’t expecting to be asked to campaign with Trump, which has become the de-facto vetting activity for the candidate as he appears on the trail with two of his potential picks this week.

JEFF SESSIONS: Sessions weighed in on Corker’s decision to take himself out of consideration as Trump’s vice president, telling reporters “I think he should stay in.” But he added that if he were offered the job, he’d be “flattered and pleased” to take it.

SCOTT BROWN: “Of course I’d do it, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Scott Brown told the Boston Globe when asked if he’d take Trump’s VP offer. To the Globe, Brown said he suggested Trump select John Thune, Joni Ernst or Bob Corker. Brown has taken on an adviser role to Trump, providing critiques of his campaign but also publicly backing his candidacy. “I’m in touch with him whenever I want,” Brown told the Globe.

More VP News: The Democrats

TIM KAINE: Kaine is back in Washington, D.C. while the Senate is in session. The Washington Post published a local opinion piece offering "The progressive case for Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s vice president pick."

Kansas City ABC affiliate KMBC talked to a few of Kaine’s former high school classmates in Kansas City about the prospect of Clinton choosing the Virginia senator for her ticket.

SHERROD BROWN: There’s a piece from Politico Magazine considering what Brown could offer Clinton on the ticket as VP, calling him her “Rust Belt Ambassador.” They write, “In one way, Sherrod Brown is more like Donald Trump than any of Clinton’s other possible running mates. And it could help her win."

Brown and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell visited a local family in Ohio Wednesday to learn more about how a community heath project impacted them.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Vox looks back through history examines whether Elizabeth Warren as VP would be a good thing for liberals.

Warren will speak about the middle class with the Center for American Progress Action Fund next Wednesday, July 13th.

JULIAN CASTRO: A new article out in Indian Country Today argues that Castro would be the best Clinton VP pick for “Indian Country.

TOM PEREZ: A new profile is out today from the Washington Post detailing the rise of Perez’s political capital during the course of his tenure as Labor Secretary. It also details a few days-in-the-life of the Obama Cabinet member. Perez deflected questions as usual on the VP in particular, but the article speculates on perhaps if not VP, what role Perez might have in a Clinton administration.