• Youthful and buoyant, he would help counter concerns in some quarters about McCain's age.

• A popular Midwestern governor, he could help McCain compete in a key battleground region.

• Like McCain, he has departed from GOP orthodoxy on some issues, including climate change and criticism of drug companies, other corporations.

• His reputation as a foe of tax increases and illegal immigration could reassure conservatives troubled by McCain's record on those issues.


• Not well-known or a proven vote-getter nationally.

• His failure to deliver Minnesota for McCain on Super Tuesday fuels doubts that he could swing the state or region in November.

• Other contenders may simply have more to offer -- Huckabee's national following and special appeal to social conservatives, for example.