Iowa’s Governor will stick around, at least through November. North Carolina Senator John Edwards is democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s pick for a runningmate, not Tom Vilsack.

Kerry made the announcement this morning in Pittsburg. But Kerry began by paying tribute to Vilsack and the others who went through the rigors of a personal and financial background check as Kerry interviewed him for the v-p slot that now belongs to Edwards.

“I’ve had the privilege of talking with a number of talented and decent Americans who’ve been both courageous enough and patriotic enough to allow themselves to be considered for the vice presidency,” Kerry said.

Kerry said the group cared enough about changing the country’s direction that they endured a “frustrating” and “intrusive” process.

“Each of those individuals would make a great vice president and indeed in their own right could lead our country,” Kerry said.

If Kerry wins in November, Vilsack is considered one of the folks Kerry may name to a cabinet post, and Vilsack would have to leave in the middle of his second term as governor to take a federal job.

Vilsack spoke briefly with Iowa reporters by phone about an hour after Kerry made his public announcement. Vilsack says Kerry and Edwards called him this morning to break the news.

“The stakes in this election are extraordinarily high,” Vilsack said afterwards to reporters. “John Kerry and John Edwards will make a team that I’m excited to work for and I think Americans will embrace.”

Vilsack called Edwards a “strong and compelling voice” for the underprivileged, and said Kerry had made a “great choice” in selecting the North Carolina Senator.

Vilsack says he’ll campaign for the Kerry/Edwards ticket whenever and wherever asked. For the rest of the week, however, Vilsack will be incommunicado, as he’s vacationing on the New Jersey shore.

Kerry and Edwards finished a surprising one-two in Iowa’s Caucuses, and now it’s a Kerry/Edwards ticket for November. After dropping out of the race, Edwards raised money and campaigned often for Kerry. Edwards made an appearance in Des Moines on June 26th for Kerry.

“If we want to change course, if we want to clean up this mess…we have a very simple solution,” Edwards said that night to a crowd of about 200 Iowa Democrats. “We need a new President of the United States and that is why John Kerry has got to be elected this November.”

Edwards’ comments may have provided a sort of “sneak peak” at the rhetoric he’ll employ against President Bush.

“Where I come from, a fish stinks from the head down,” Edwards said of the Iraq prison scandal. “This stinks from the head down.”

Edwards is seen as a fresh, energetic face in the party, but he has a “rags to riches” personal story as well as special appeal in his native south. Edwards also waged a positive campaign during the primary season and refused to attack the other democratic candidates.

“One of the things that I learned is that people want change,” Edwards said. “They want a leader who will actually stand up for them.”