AP's Quaid writes, "finding a running mate tops the summer to-do lists of John McCain and Barack Obama, and each needs to decide what he wants as much as who he wants" (6/8).
A Dream Ticket? Wake Up!
Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Bookman writes, Obama should be "leery" of bringing Hillary Clinton on as his running mate, "even with all she would bring to the ticket." A VP candidate "has to be comfortable in the role of second banana, willing to sacrifice her own political identity and to pledge enthusiastic loyalty to the policies and person" of the WH nominee. "Nothing I've seen from Clinton suggests she is willing and able to perform that function" (6/9).
"Sure, Obama-Clinton is practically a no-brainer," writes Kansas City Star's Kraske. Clinton polled 17M votes. "She's been vetted and tested, and she patches up" Obama's "shortfalls with women and blue-collar types. A gimme, right? Not gonna happen."
"It doesn't happen for reasons obvious and not so obvious. The obvious is all that business about Obama and change. To go Clinton is to turn his back on his buzzword. It negates Obama's reason for being. The less clear reason has to do with the events of the past week. Clinton may have backed off her I-want-to-be-veep stand by" 6/6. "But the hint-hint-hints in the days preceding were brazen in their tackiness and astounding in their boldness, not to mention shortsighted" (6/9).
Syndicated columnist George Will writes, "Obama's choice of a running mate will be the first important decision he makes with the whole country watching, so it will be a momentous act of self-definition. If he chooses her, it will be an act of self-diminishment, especially now that some of her acolytes are aggressively suggesting that some unwritten rule of American politics stipulates that anyone who finishes a strong second in the nomination contest is entitled to second place on the ticket."
"Behind the idea that Obama should run in harness with Clinton is this wobbly theory: Because the Republican Party is in such bad odor, if you unify the Democratic Party, that will suffice to win the election, and she is a necessary and sufficient catalyst of unity. But she is neither. She would be a potent unifier of John McCain's party, thereby setting the stage for exactly what the nation does not need, another angry campaign of mere mobilization rather than persuasion" (6/8).
Keeping The "Dream" Alive
The Rev. Jesse Jackson told the AP that Clinton has demonstrated that she would make a strong VP. Jackson, in a phone interview: "While clearly the choice of a running mate is his and that right should be honored, I thought she made a powerful case for her eligibility. ... She starts with 18 million votes. She starts having gained a following among Latinos and she has substantial support among African-Americans. Women will be looking for her place in the scheme of things" (6/7).
VA's Kaine, asked if Clinton is automatically the frontrunner for the VP spot: "I would say that the campaign has from very early days ... talked a lot about Senator Clinton and Senator Clinton's supporters and the notion of party unity. We needed to get the primary done. We need to let the dust settle. Again, Senator Clinton just did an absolutely remarkable job yesterday, knocked it out of the park in reflecting on her candidacy and in encouraging us all to come together. And that will be hugely helpful in getting us involved. But party unity is obviously one of the very top features that the Obama team will be weighing as they make the decision about the V.P., but also other decisions" ("Fox News Sunday," 6/8).
Clinton comm. dir. Howard Wolfson: "It's not a job that she's seeking. And it's not a job that she's campaigning for. But she has made it clear, during the campaign and now, that she will do, as I've said, whatever she can and whatever she is asked" ("Face the Nation," CBS, 6/8).
More Wolfson: "That is solely Senator Obama's decision. He needs to make the best decision for him based on whatever he thinks he needs to do to get elected and govern" ("Late Edition," CNN, 6/8).
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): "From a personal view -- and I may be too close to the forest -- I think it is an absolutely unbeatable ticket, and I think it would be terrific for the country" ("Face the Nation," CBS, 6/8).
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), on those who do not favor an Obama-Clinton ticket: "I've looked at every other possible candidate. No one brings to a ticket what Hillary brings. Eighteen million people committed to where she's going. ... If you really want a winning ticket, this is it."
More Feinstein: "I do think she has a chance, but that's up to him. And I think it's going to take some time. The nerve endings have to be healed. They are being healed. She did a lot to begin that process" ("This Week," ABC, 6/8).
Feinstein, on whether Obama should choose Clinton as his running mate: "I believe he should. I think there are 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling that say, yes, do it. I think Hillary had something that is a bit unusual. She has a very committed woman constituency, female constituency right now. ... Now that's not to say he can't get them with others. He can. And he can get them with himself. But it's such a natural to put these two together" ("Late Edition," CNN, 6/8).
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), on an Obama-Clinton ticket: "I think it will be a strong ticket. But I also think there are some other potentials for Barack Obama. ... If you're the agent of change, why would you go back? If there's one thing this election or this primary and this election have shown is people are not looking for dynasties."
Feinstein, in response: "The reason is to win. That's the reason. The reason is she has been out there. She has pushed for change as much as anybody. She is forward looking. She doesn't look back into the past. So I just think if you look at numbers and constituencies and what you need to win, Hillary has it. That's not to say others don't" ("Late Edition," CNN, 6/8).
NBC's Cowan, on the Obama camp: "I think that they see a role for the Clintons, obviously, for both of them. But I think they see them much more effectively being used out in the field, having Hillary Clinton go out there and talk about health care. Have Bill Clinton help out a lot with those middle class, white voters. I think that's the role that they see the Clintons playing, not something that they want to share the ticket with, necessarily" ("Meet the Press," 6/8).
NBC's Mitchell: "She is open to the vice presidency. She wants it. She clearly wants it. ... Yesterday's speech was an audition. And look at the crowd and look at the composition of that crowd. And by coincidence, actually, not by planning, it was held right at the end of the Race for the Cure, that you had thousands of women who had just been running and walking to try to raise money to cure breast cancer, and a lot of the people in that crowd were wearing the T-shirts and the hats. It was a ready-made crowd just four blocks away" ("Meet the Press," 6/8).
ABC's Tapper, on whether the media is "rooting" for Clinton to be VP: "I don't think the media are rooting for her to be on the ticket. I think it's a tough question because it puts Obama in a very difficult position. Obviously, you want to give Senator Clinton her due and her almost 18 million supporters their due. But obviously there is no love lost. And it's a good, tough question. And perhaps Obama's real first presidential level decision, what do I do? And so, it's a good awkward moment to force him to be into. I don't think it's because we're rooting for it" ("Reliable Sources," CNN, 6/8).
Another HRC-LBJ Comparison
In '60, John F. Kennedy "faced the same dilemma" that Obama faces today with Clinton: Deciding whether he can win the WH without his former rival on the ticket. Kennedy "decided, with a warning nudge" from then-Speaker Sam Rayburn, "that he couldn't, despite the fact he loathed" Johnson. "Nothing short of an offer" for the VP nom, whether she accepts it or not, "seems likely to appease Clinton." For his part, Obama "appeared to understand that a quick detente with Clinton is necessary."
"Kennedy's solution, following a narrow victory, was to pretty much isolate [Johnson], something Obama might have difficulty in accomplishing with a dynamic duo of Clintons."
"The real war is just beginning and this charismatic young man will need all the help he can get if he is to overcome elements whose motives are hidden by the secrecy of the voting booth. Bringing the dynamic and experience of Clinton to the ticket may be the only way" (Thomasson, Nashua Telegraph, 6/8).
Webb's Weekend Words
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), asked if he would accept the VP spot: "I would leave that to Barack Obama. And, having a discussion with him, I'm happy to give him as much advice as I can, and support. I'm not really looking to be in that spot. ... He's going to have to find someone that he feels compatible with, who also can help him in the election. But every bit as importantly, he's going to have to put together an executive branch of government. And having spent four years in the Reagan administration, inside the executive branch, that's a very challenging thing to do."
Webb, asked if he would consider being on a ticket with McCain: "I can give you a definite no on that" ("Face the Nation," CBS, 6/8).
Kaine & Able
VA Gov. Tim Kaine (D), asked if he would accept the VP spot: "I'm not here about me. I'm here about the senator and his vision for changing America. And what I've done for him so far is get out on the campaign trail, and I'm part of his economics adviser team, and I think my best feature in terms of helping him is do just exactly what I'm doing and help him in Virginia, which is very much in play."
More Kaine: "I think probably it would be hard for anybody to say no under a situation like that. But I'm not expecting it, not counting on it, certainly didn't endorse the senator with any plan to get anything out of it. I just want to help him win, because I think our nation needs change. ... It's not about me. It's about my state" ("Fox News Sunday," 6/8).
Holder, Right There
The Washington Times editorializes that Obama "already" has "come under fire" for naming ex-Dep. AG Eric Holder to his VP selection cmte, "and rightly so." Holder "failed to notify the DoJ and NY prosecutors during the Clinton admin.'s consideration of an '01 pardon for Marc Rich - the "tax-evading, illegal-trading, racketeer billionaire, who avoided prosecution by fleeing to Switzerland and renouncing his citizenship" (6/9).
Getting An "A" In Chemistry
As McCain starts the process of picking a running mate, "intimates say he'll focus on finding someone with whom he can comfortably share the deck of his presidency. Electoral College strategy, demographics, ideological balance, experience—that's all secondary to whether the former Navy pilot can envision his choice as copilot. His close friends use varied phrases to describe this." Ex-Sen. Warren Rudman (R-NH): "Personal compatibility. Ex-Def. Sec./Sen. William Cohen: "Likability." DC lobbyist Ken Duberstein: "He is not going to pick a clone or a crazy. It will be someone he's got great chemistry with."
"The chemistry test yields some early possibilities:" SC Gov. Mark Sanford, ex-OMB Dir./ex-Rep. Rob Portman, MS Gov./ex-RNC Chair Haley Barbour and "even" Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT). "Among these, some insiders argue Portman, 52, who has solid fiscal-reform credentials, makes the most sense." MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty's name "gets mentioned, and conservatives talk up" AK Gov. Sarah Palin, "but she is all but unknown to McCain," who "seems fascinated by Jindal. Of Indian descent and only 36, he is a former Rhodes scholar and an ardent proponent of the free market. McCain has been with him several times in recent weeks. Still, Jindal is unlikely to be a finalist." Cohen, on Jindal: "Everybody admires the guy, but he probably is too young and inexperienced."
"Then there's Mitt Romney. Last week he was on the road, auditioning for veep by headlining fund-raisers as he talked up McCain and trashed" Obama. "On the surface, a McCain-Romney alliance seems improbable. They are vastly different personalities: Top Gun vs. straight arrow. They clashed during the slash-and-burn primary season. But under the watchful eyes of McCain lieutenants, the two men got along pleasantly, I am told. Good thing Romney eats chicken" (Fineman, Newsweek, 6/7).
What About Susan B. Anthony?
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), on whether McCain should pick a female running mate: "I think having a woman on the ticket would be fabulous. I think he has a number of good choices. I love Meg Whitman. I love Carly Fiorina. I think they would add dynamite to the ticket. But I also there's some great governors like Pawlenty, Crist are both mentioned, I think very prominently. ... And I think Mitt Romney is terrific and he's a person who could step in."
CNN's Blitzer: "What about Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison?"
Hutchison: "Well, I think he has other choices that match very well with him. And I'm looking at all of those as real potentials" ("Late Edition," CNN, 6/8).
Ex-HP CEO/McCain fundraiser Carly Fiorina, asked if she has any designs to be VP: "I do not have designs. John McCain will have long list of highly qualified people to choose from. I just like to help get him elected as president. ... I honestly don't think about it" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 6/9).
Pork Chops & Apple Sauce
Boston Globe's Issenberg profiles LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who "is imagined as a possible counterpart" to Obama's "novelty," the GOP's "own jarringly fresh front man for a party looking to redefine itself. Yet at home, the revolution preached on T-shirts" - and backed with the approval of nearly 80% of LAans -- "is a more modest one." Jindal "stands as a figurehead for the new, and radical" by LA standards, "preference of competence over charisma."
"His political mentor," ex-Gov. Mike Foster (R), "praises him as 'a very practical fellow.'"
Ex-Gov. Buddy Roemer (R), on the prospects of McCain choosing Jindal: "John for all of his life has been working to expand the base . . . and I think Bobby reconnects in a positive way with the mainstream Republican and young voters. Bobby is reminding us of who we can be. It's also the obvious strongest part of Obama - he represents the renewing of America" (6/9).
Jindal "has traveled the country in the past few months": talking on TV with Jay Leno, touting LA on nat'l news talk shows in DC and visiting" McCain in AZ. "But Jindal's been largely missing" at the LA capitol during the legislative session, "a sharp contrast from his predecessors, who prowled the halls, testified at committee hearings and watched in the House and Senate chambers as lawmakers debated their proposals."
"Lawmakers disagree on whether the change in management style makes it more difficult to get their work done or to know" the gov's position on legislation, "but they agree the change is striking."
State Sen. Eric LaFleur (D) "tied Jindal's absence from public meetings at the Capitol to his rising nat'l prominence in the GOP. LaFleur: "He clearly doesn't want to say the wrong thing, and I don't blame him," LaFleur said. "One little hiccup in one statement and you can drop 10 points" (AP, 6/9).
Lakeland Ledger's Follick writes, the "signs are everywhere" that FL Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is "in the biggest campaign of his political life" to become John McCain's running mate. "But history, and Crist's personal life, may work against" his "shot" at running mate.
Not since Richard Nixon chose Spiro Agnew in '68 has a running mate been selected "with Crist's limited resume." Conventional wisdom "suggests" Crist's popularity in FL "would make him an idea pick" to help McCain win FL. "But rarely has a running mate been selected because of electoral math."
But the "thorniest obstacle" may be Crist's "unusual personal history. At the age of 51, Crist has never owned a home, and is a virtual lifelong bachelor with a six-month marriage nearly 30 years ago. His perpetual tan, unrelenting optimism, austere eating habits of one meal a day and his high-profile romance" of a "dazzling" NY "socialite" may "draw little more than a shrug" among FLans. But "echoes" of the '06 GOV campaign, "when Crist's sexuality and past relationships became part of shadowy rumors, could become louder" on a nat'l stage (6/9).
Vice President Barracuda?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Kelly writes that McCain should choose AK's Palin "There is one potential running mate who has virtually no down side. Those conservatives who've heard of her were delighted to learn that McCain advance man Arthur Culvahouse" was in AK recently, "because they surmised he could only be there to discuss" the VP nomination with Palin.
"Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor" in AK's "relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced" around 90%. "This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship" in '82, "her teammates called her 'Sarah Barracuda' because of her fierce competitiveness."
"She's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party." McCain should select Palin early to "force" Obama "to make a mistake. He'd have to rule out choosing someone" like VA Sen. Jim Webb, for fear of exacerbating charges of sexism. "And if he chose a woman other than Hillary," the impression Dems "are wimpy would be intensified" (6/8).
Pawlenty Of Similarities
Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Diaz writes, the way Walter Mondale became Jimmy Carter's VP, "and the way he unalterably shaped the office, could have portents for another Minnesotan who is being considered for the position: MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Mondale "got the job by dint" of his DC experience, "his corn-fed image" and MN's importance as a battleground state -- it had gone to Nixon in '72, the last time a GOPer has carried the state. "Like Mondale, Pawlenty would bring a whiff of the heartland and a fresh face unblemished by scandal. Mondale was 48 when he joined the Carter ticket in the summer of 1976. Pawlenty will turn 48 in November. For many analysts, Pawlenty's youth and vigor could count for more on the GOP ticket than whether he can deliver Minnesota, which remains an iffy proposition" (6/8).
Pawlenty, asked if he would accept the VP spot: "I have a fond and deep respect for Senator McCain and his leadership. I want to help him become the president because I think he'd be a great president. But I don't have any designs on being vice president. If somebody came to me and said that, of course, it would be an honor to be mentioned, honor to be asked. It would be difficult to turn that down. But I don't have any designs, and it's not why I'm such a great and strong promoter of Senator McCain" ("Fox News Sunday," 6/8).
This article appears in the June 9, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.