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June 16, 2008 01:38 PM UTC

Monday Veepstakes - Obama Edition

  • by: RedGreen

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

When Tim Russert asked John McCain whether he’d consider being George Bush’s running mate in 2000, the Arizona senator gave  this answer:

No. No way. The vice president has two duties. One is to inquire daily as to the health of the president, and the other is to attend the funerals of third world dictators. And neither of those do I find an enjoyable exercise


Still, someone’s going to jump at the chance to be either McCain or Barack Obama’s running mate this fall. Both campaigns are vetting the usual suspects and floating unusual trial balloons. Karl Rove  suggested yesterday that McCain should pick Mitt Romney and Obama should pick Joe Biden. NPR’s Ken Rudin casts a wide net this week when he handicaps Obama’s possibilities. After the standard caveats that the vice president rarely has a measurable impact on the outcome of the election, Rudin notes that the choice itself can send a powerful signal about a nominee’s strengths, weaknesses, judgment and electoral strategy.

It’s time for Polsters to weigh in. (For what it’s worth, the latest buzz is that both candidates have made their selections and could announce them tomorrow, but both will hew to the standard vetting exercise to mollify groups in each of their parties.) Make your selection based on whichever criteria you like – best electoral boost, most qualified to be a heartbeat away, encapsulates the candidate’s vision, sews up troublesome elements of the base, keeps a crucial state in play, names look great on a bumpersticker.

A (lengthy) poll follows.

Who will Obama pick? Who should Obama pick? Someone on this list or a wildcard yet unnamed?

I’ve tried to round up all the serious mentions, including a few who have said they don’t want the job and some who are long-shots at best, but doubtless have missed someone. Discuss other possibilities in the comments below.

Choices are in alphabetical order.

Obama's running mate will be

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48 thoughts on “Monday Veepstakes – Obama Edition

  1. But she won’t be VP or Pres. until we pass a constitutional amendment altering the requirement that the President be born in this country. She was born in Canada.  

  2. Three people voted for Jim Webb? He’s never going to get it, and nor should he. He’s got the same “inexperience” problem as Obama, plus he’s got all kinds of sexual skeletons in his closet. Bad pick. Kaine or Strickland, however, I could see…

    1. but several blogs I’ve read say he is a close friend of McCain and he doesn’t sound very Democrat-friendly accept for his criticism of war policy. Here’s some info on him from Wikipedia:

      the former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) (2003-2006) and the Commander of the United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM) (2003-2006); and served as the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps (July 1999-January 2003). Jones retired from the United States Marine Corps on February 1, 2007 after 40 years of service.[1]

      In 2007, Jones served as Chairman of the Congressional Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, which investigated the capabilities of the Iraqi police and armed forces. In November 2007, he was appointed by the Secretary of State as special envoy for Middle East Security.

      On the negative side (besides McCain buddy thing)  this from First Read:

      Jones currently is the president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, which is an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, not exactly the type of organization a typical Democrat gets involved with. Potentially problematic is that he’s on Chevron’s board. He also serves on the boards of Boeing and Invacare, a manufacturer and distributor of medical equipment. (Invacare’s slogan, ironically, is: “Yes, you can.”)

      Maybe General Wesley Clark would be a better fit. He represents the Clinton camp without being one of those involved in the whole scorched earth thing and wouldn’t hurt Obama’s change brand while bringing military cred.  No problems with any particuar demographic that will be part of a Dem coalition as far as I know. Raised in Little Rock Arkansas.

  3. After the last eight years of Cheney running the country, I think VP choices might be more important than ever before.

    Bet McCain didn’t know in 2000 that he could have made all of the important decisions.  He might have changed his mind.

  4. He runs not because he wants it but because the country needs him. And he announces once they win that he’s there for just 4 years so Obama can then bring in someone else for his second term.

    1. That’s the kind of game-changing announcement that would molify Clinton backers and make moot all the handwringing over Webb vs. Schweitzer vs. Sebelius.

      Remember when the Reagen-Ford ticket nearly brought the 1980 Republican convention to a standstill? This one would actually make sense.  

      1. It certainly wouldn’t mollify Clinton.  The Gores and Clintons can’t stand each other, haven’t been on good terms ever since the  whole blue dress thing.  And why on earth would Gore be willing to go through another grueling campaign just for VP when he wasn’t willing to for President?  

        Last summer the dream ticket so many people were talking about was Gore/Obama. Gore took a pass.  The Gores are living a wonderful life with as much or as little involvement in partisan politics as they want.  He is more popular, respected and influential then ever and nobody is busy digging up dirt on him or his friends and family.  Dream on.  

        Gore can have huge influence with an Obama administration as a formal or informal energy czar, a goodwill ambassador to the world on global warming issues, whatever he wants, without going through the candidate grind again.  Gave a great little speech this evening in support of Obama but he’s not going to take the VP post.

  5. Strickland has given a pretty concrete response recently regarding the prospect of being Obama’s running mate.

    “If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept, and if elected I will not serve. So, I don’t know how more crystal clear I can be.”

      1. Seriously, they were the stronger candidates that couldn’t be easily dismissed.  Clinton is strong, but I honestly don’t think that Obama will need her to unify the party, so what’s the point?

        Gore has been there done that, so what’s the point?

          1. I’ve said before that I think he would be a smart choice, but I seem to recall some protests over him as well-however I can’t recall the specifics.

            Maybe it was something about while he brought military experience he did bring a lot of governing experience, which the Obama ticket could use some more of…

  6. Gore comes out today and endorses Obama.

    Ex Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle hired as Obama’s yet-to-be-chosen running mate’s chief of staff.

    This being the case, I don’t see Hilary taking the VP spot, but maybe Doyle and Gore had a relationship back in the ’90s. Obama/Gore ticket more likely?

        1. It’s a vetting issue.  The Republicans have made their choice and decided to go with McCain so any financial or other scandals connected with him or his wife that surface now, they’ll just have to deal with.  

          The choice of Dem VP hasn’t been made yet.  Or at least not officially and publicly.   The main job of a VP is to do more good than harm, not be a cause of headaches for the presidential candidate.  Obama’s people have every right to dig deep before saying “OK, this choice won’t be a problem”.    

          The husband of Mondale’s VP candidate, Geraldine Ferraro, presented a huge problem because of his alleged shady business dealings.  Besides, Obama doesn’t want Billary for VP.

    1. That’s about as significant as Doug Lamborn’s announcement that he’s getting ready to endorse John McCain.  The nomination fights are over.  They’re both a day late and a dollar short.

        As for the general election, did anyone think that Gore was not going to support Obama.  Where would he go?  To Bob Barr? To Ralph Nader?

        I wouldn’t read too much into the hiring of Solis Doyle and the Gore endorsement.

      1. I had no doubt Gore would endorse Obama, nothing special there. I was just curious if Gore had a relationship with Doyle going back to the Clinton administration. I find it interesting that the Obama camp would hire the VP’s campaign manager before they announced a VP… unless they already have someone lined up.

        Is it normal for the Presidential nominee to choose the VP’s staff before the VP signs on?

  7. saying Strickland for about 3 months now for either Obama or Clinton, but he pretty much took himself out of consideration this weekend.

    Sam Nunn seems to be getting quite a bit of press of late, and while he certainly has some strengths, I am personally opposed to him as he is strongly anti-gay.  Not sure how he’d fly with Obama’s base supporters either since he’s fairly conservative.

    Someone who is not on the list that I like is former Senator Bob Graham of Florida.  He was opposed to the Iraq War from the start, has strong record on national intelligence and security issues which Obama needs some assistance with.  The fact that he is from Florida doesn’t hurt either.  

      1. IMHO this is just a Repub fantasy to dilute Obama’s impact with a Blue Dog Dem.

        Nunn is (or was last I heard) a major defense hawk and a general fiscal/social conservative.  And he’s been out of politics even longer than Gingrich, wasn’t very dynamic when he was in there.  He would help Obama like Lieberman helped Gore-NOT.  

        He’s a career think-tanker now.

        1. is just a way of reminding centrist Democrats that Nunn endorsed Obama. It gives Obama some national security cred and holds out possibility Nunn might be secretary of defense or the like. He’s too old to share the ticket with Obama, but floating his name makes news in Georgia and among hawkish Democrats who might be lukewarm to Obama.

    1. I support him and I think he was far more qualified than anyone who ran against him and so on, but the role of a VP is #1 to provide a successor should the worst happen, #2 provide a successor should the best happen and the team gets 8 full years, and #3 strengthen the ticket.

      I know that the armchair campaign manager handicapping for #3 makes him a good bet to improve chances in Colorado, but would he really?  He’s not exactly an inspiring figure and at the best of times only about 2/3 of Americans can even name their governor according to Pew (hopefully they’re the ones voting, but…).  And as for the other two… he’s better than half the politicians selected at random, but not by much.  I don’t know that he’d even be in the in the top 10 even among just Democratic governors.  He’s a place holder politician.  Not bad, but not great.


      1. He’s an agreeable enough governor, but he’s hardly a forceful or inspired campaigner. Two years ago he was a former district attorney. Except maybe for the very first Dick Lamm term, for 50 years Colorado has wanted a governor who most resembles a kindly high school principal. Works for Colorado, but not for a national ticket.

        1. Rule #1 for a VP is first do no harm. And he’s popular so he clearly knows how to campaign successfully.

          Anyways, I thought he was worth mentioning – he’s better than some of the names on the list above.

          1. Actually you may be onto something here. Bill Ritter would make a fine VP as he has similar qualities to Bob Russell in The West Wing. A true triumph of VPdom, a rebuke to the exceptional and the skilled. A man cast from the same mold as Dan Quayle, but in bright Democratic colors. Not the worst, not the best, just what we’re stuck with.

            And should Obama be lucky enough to get two full terms Bill Ritter will use his great skill at calling commissions to get the presidential nod and hand the Republicans the White House unless they run as lackluster a campaigner as “Both Ways” Bob in a moderate Democratic headwind against him.


            1. “In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising, it gives me great nausea to announce Robert Russell, Bingo Bob himself, as your new Vice President.”

              “This lapdog of the mining interests is as dull as he is unremarkable, as lackluster as he is soporific, this reversion to the mean, this rebuke to the exemplary gives hope to the millions unfavored by the exceptional.  Bob Russell: not the worst, not the best, just what we’re stuck with.”

              Ok, I guess Ritter wouldn’t be that bad…but he’s not a serious option…

        2. I started working on a diary about all the current governors and senators to see who was on the presidential “bench” and I gave up after I could not find a decent metric to separate the presidential from the mediocrities.  And it seemed like there were an awful lot of mediocrities.  

          Though some other time I suppose that could be the subject of a diary.  We don’t have better presidents because we don’t elect better local politicians to climb the ladder to become governor and senator.  

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