It's Washington's hottest guessing game: Who will Michael Dukakis pick for vice-president on the Democratic ticket? Governor Dukakis, as tight-lipped as a New England clam, offers few hints. But insiders say his search for a compatible running mate centers on Capitol Hill.
Three senators getting close scrutiny appear to be John Glenn of Ohio, Bob Graham of Florida, and Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.
Two other solons - Sam Nunn of Georgia and Bill Bradley of New Jersey - have taken themselves out of the running.
Dukakis says one factor will be paramount when making his choice. He will select the person who would make the best president if Dukakis were unable to serve.
Within that context, however, are a wide range of considerations, including regional balance, Washington experience, foreign policy expertise, and personal compatibility.
Any of those factors could weigh heavily in the final decision.
Political veteran Richard Scammon says the first political axiom when picking vice-presidents is, ``Do no harm.''
Experts recall earlier choices who have been a drag on the ticket. Thomas Eagleton, whose medical records came under scrutiny, was forced to withdraw from George McGovern's ticket in 1972. Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman nominee of a major party, hurt Democratic chances in 1984 when questions arose about her husband's finances.
Dukakis's search for a vice-president has ranged from Jesse Jackson on the left - whom the Massachusetts governor was to host for July 4th activities - to Senator Nunn on the right. More than two dozen names have floated in the news media during the past few weeks. But the hunt seems to be narrowing.
In addition to Senators Glenn, Graham, and Bentsen, Capitol Hill sources mention three congressmen - Thomas Foley of Washington, Lee Hamilton of Indiana, and Richard Gephardt of Missouri - as possibilities. But as Mr. Scammon says:
``Dukakis might go to Robin Hood's barn and pick someone completely unexpected.''