Obama’s trip from Springfield, Illinois, where he will introduce his running mate, to the convention in Denver will go from Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa to Kansas City to Omaha, all across the state of South Dakota to Billings, Montana. Then they will head south through Wyoming.

Everyone is trying to read the tea leaves from this itinerary. One thing that is readily obvious is that the trip is designed to get electoral votes. Iowa and Wisconsin are competitive states that are polling very well for Obama. Missouri is a winnable state that is polling well for McCain. Nebraska, like Maine, divvies up its electoral votes by congressional district, and Obama is competitive in two of the eastern districts. Montana is polling very well for Obama. And Wyoming is just on the way to Denver.

Having said this, at least three potential picks have connections to Kansas City. Tim Kaine grew up there, McCaskill got her political start there, and Sebelius governs the Kansan side of the city. Kansas City also represents a significant southern detour on the road from Illinois to Montana, so it could be significant.

On the other hand, the bus ride will traverse the entire state of South Dakota and, even though there are no scheduled events in the state, it offers a perfect stage for a surprise Obama/Daschle ticket.

If anything can be read from the itinerary, it looks good for Kaine, Sebelius, and Daschle. It looks bad for Bayh, Biden, and Clinton.

Speaking of Daschle, he’s scheduled to appear at a health-care forum in Denver on Wednesday. Also in attendance? Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Also:

CHICAGO — Sen. Barack Obama, having chosen his running mate, is still torturing almost everyone else.

“Most of the higher level people in the campaign still don’t know,” former senator Tom Daschle, a close Obama confidant, said on Friday morning.

But Daschle surely does know. Could it be Chet Edwards? Well, dude, we just don’t know.

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