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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.
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence take the stage during a campaign rally in Westfield, Indiana on July 12.TASOS KATOPODIS / AFP - Getty Images

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

The headlines: The GOP
  • There are new reports tonight that Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort says Trump will announce his VP pick at an event in New York City on Friday.
  • Thursday’s Veepstakes appears to the outside to have changed little from where it began this morning despite a flurry of meetings between Trump, his family and the remaining VP prospects. Indianapolis became a hubbub of VP Watch when Trump’s motorcade rolled through town to the residence of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. But as flights entered town with Newt Gingrich and Pete Sessions aboard, it became clear Trump and his team are continuing to plow through their finalists.
Headlines: The Democrats
  • Tim Kaine will appear on the stump tomorrow with Clinton for the first time since the Virginia primary
  • Tom Vilsack appeared on MTPDaily today and directed all vetting questions to the Clinton campaign

More VP News: The GOP

MIKE PENCE: Pence set off sirens early Wednesday morning when motorcades arrived to the governor’s mansion in Indianapolis with Donald Trump and Eric, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner, plus campaign chair Paul Manafort. Pence described the morning later to reporters, saying he and his wife, Karen, “clipped some flowers and served coffee and a warm breakfast this morning and just, just had good conversation as a family together.”

The full morning followed Pence’s “audition” on Tuesday night in the city. The Indianapolis fundraiser hosted in the heart of downtown brought in a haul of more than $1 million, but aides to Trump told NBC’s Katy Tur and Anthony Terrell that they were not expecting Pence to show such fire in his introduction of Trump.

Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully assessed Pence’s performance this way: “He read his five-minute speech flawlessly. He tossed out enough red meat rhetoric about Obamacare and Benghazi to turn what had been a relatively lukewarm initial response into a roar by the end. He heaped praise on Trump in a reverential, vice presidential way. And he displayed the raw ambition that you’d expect from a politician seeking to move up the political ladder.”

NEWT GINGRICH: Gingrich told Fox News host Sean Hannity’s radio program on Wednesday that Trump has to decide "what’s the chemistry he wants and that’s the person he should pick.” Gingrich flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday to meet with Trump face to face.

Sources told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell that Hannity facilitated the private air travel today for Gingrich.

The former speaker, long seen as the pick that could most effectively prosecute a campaign against Hillary Clinton, now must contend with Pence, who showed his own willingness to go on offense on Tuesday night.

But with Gingrich, there are still the liabilities that continue to be written about as the decision nears.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin suggested it is possible for a VP pick to hurt a nominee and asserted that Gingrich is "hardly going to impress minority and younger voters.” Rubin continued: "Together they represent a party stuck in a time warp, detached from the lives of 21st century Americans.”

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Chris Christie met with Trump’s children on Tuesday, another leg of the candidate’s vice-presidential vetting process. According to the Washington Post, he was in D.C. today, holding Trump transition meetings at the Willard Intercontinental hotel. The Guardian reported Trump hired Christie’s former New Hampshire state director, Matt Mowers, to his campaign. And Christie will not be attending the National Governors Association meeting this weekend.

JEFF SESSIONS — Senior Trump sources told NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell that while Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was invited to be part of today's flurry of meetings in Indianapolis, he is not among the finalists under consideration for the VP spot.

More VP Headlines: The Democrats

TIM KAINE: Tomorrow, Kaine will be on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton for the first time since before the Virginia primary for an event together in Annandale. But today, Kaine met with the president of Honduras about human rights and economic development -- the nation he lived in decades ago as a young missionary.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Virginia called a conference call ahead of Clinton’s event with Kaine, claiming that Clinton will force Kaine to “defend the indefensible,” via the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Daily Beast reflects on Kaine’s powerful response to the Virginia Tech shootings: "The most painful part of Sen. Tim Kaine’s résumé might be one of his biggest assets in the race to be Hillary Clinton’s No 2.”

The National Journal takes a dive into Tim Kaine’s record of the environment, writing, "He’s not a radical green, but activists see a chance to work with him if he’s on the Democratic ticket.” And the AP is out with a story explaining why Kaine would be a “steady pick” for Clinton.

TOM VILSACK: Vilsack was on Meet the Press Daily on MSNBC today with Peter Alexander and gave a familiar response to the question of whether he is being vetted to be Clinton’s VP or not.

PA: So, let me ask you point blank, are you being vetted right now by the campaign.

TV: Listen, those questions should obviously be directed to the campaign. What's interesting about this to me is the speculation on the Democratic side has a whole host of people who could potentially do this job, and for the last several weeks it's been a lot of folks on the Republican side who don't want to be on the vice presidential list.

(Later) PA: So, to be clear, you're not going to tell me if you are being vetted. Do you know that you're not being vetted right now? Is there any information that we don't know?

TV: I think you just ask the campaign, and I'm sure they'll be glad to give you all the information you need.

While he has not yet been confirmed to be formally vetted by the campaign, this language follows suit of those who have been confirmed to be vetted such as Castro and Kaine.

Vilsack will be a guest on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Andrea Mitchell Reports tomorrow.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Warren went another tirade against Donald Trump on the floor of the Senate today, going after him on the Trump University case and the presumptive GOP nominee’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, saying, "Donald Trump has spent years peddling Trump University, a sham college that his own former employees refer to as 'one big fraudulent scheme,” and then attempting to tie Trump’s comments to House Republicans: "Where do you suppose Donald trump got the idea that he could demean judges with impunity? He got it from Republicans right here in Congress.”

Warren also spoke at the at the Center for American Progress Action Fund this afternoon in a speech focused completely on middle class economics.

The Texas Tribune is out with an extensive piece detailing Warren’s decade that she spent in Texas.

Warren was one of the senators to write a letter to the FTC to urge an examination of short-term housing companies like Airbnb.

JAMES STAVRIDIS: After news broke that Clinton’s campaign is vetting the retired Navy admiral, the Washington Post put together a short video introducing him to the public. Stavridis is also the subject of an opinion piece from Military Times saying his spot on the ticket "would boost Clinton’s internationalism and serve as a constant reminder of Trump’s anti-NATO position."

JULIAN CASTRO: Castro was grilled on the hill today by GOP lawmakers, per The Dallas Morning News.

SHERROD BROWN: Sen. Sherrod Brown’s hometown of Cleveland is the center of the 2016 spotlight as Republicans flock to the city for their convention, and the senator actually told Ohio reporters Wednesday that he will work to hold his tongue about the party and their presumptive nominee while they are in town. “I will say nothing negative about Donald Trump during the week of the convention,” he said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“I will not say anything negative about Republicans,” Brown added. “I’m thrilled they’re in Cleveland. It’s great for our city."

CORY BOOKER: An interesting article out from Buzzfeed on Booker’s desire to vet himself in a way in the wake of his initial 2013 senate run. The article says that Booker has proactively gone back to find “sources" for his anecdotes and trail stories so that he is prepared in case of future vetting or intense press scrutiny.

AL FRANKEN: Sen. Franken took to the Senate floor today to speak about communities impacted by police-involved shootings and urged his fellow senators to meet with people whose lives have been affected by these incidents. Franken was also one of few Clinton VP contenders to release public statements thanking Bernie Sanders for his campaign.

Also, Pokemon Go update: Watch our NBC Nightly News report on Sen. Al Franken raising privacy concerns about game.