As John McCain and Barack Obama begin their search for the perfect running mate, those on the short list can sit passively by, waiting for the telephone to ring. Or they can follow the advice of a range of political operatives from both parties who shared their tips with Time on how to go from vice-presidential hopeful to the chosen one.
Whatever you are asked to by the campaign--from raising money to going on TV.
Suck up to Mrs. Obama/McCain. The spouse will be the final person the candidate consults before he decides.
Quietly make sure your allies with influence are making the case for you.
Show you can be an eloquent attack dog--with a smile!--against the other side.
Display message discipline and a controlled ego.
Demonstrate your expertise in an area the nominee will need.
Remember to be a fierce advocate, not an analyst, when on TV.
Give the same effort to the 50-person event in Washington County, Pa., that you do to the 500-person event in Washington, D.C.
Get yourself on the search committee. (It worked for Dick Cheney.)
Make sure to clear with the nominee's staff all high-profile public appearances, statements and media interviews.
Openly campaign for the position or look like you covet it. Try to come across as the player who will dive for the loose ball not like the guard who takes a shot every time he touches the ball.
Make gaffes while in the spotlight.
Be a lobbyist.
Rebuff requests for information from the campaign's vetters.
Be a drama king or queen.
Stake out any new, high-profile policy positions that are out of synch with the presidential candidate's.
Offer unsolicited advice--publicly or privately--to the nominee.
Say you are "not interested in the job" if you would take it. No candidate wants to look like he begged--or picked Hamlet.
Show up on national TV talking about a new book, speech or organization designed around your political ambitions.
Speak ill of your rivals for the Veep slot. You can't actually do them any damage, and chances are one of them may be asked by the nominee whether he or she would recommend you.
That's the Ticket
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