New York Today: Open Thread on VP Candidates

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Just back from Japan — thanks to Sameer Lalwani and Scott Paul for keeping the wheels rolling while I was in air. I’m in New York today doing some meetings that will touch on the Annapolis Summit efforts to achieve a new framework for Israel-Palestine negotiations and also discussing how to tilt US-Cuba engagement in a new direction.
Many are asking via email what I know about Michael Bloomberg and the chances of him running. Despite the extraordinary abilities of his spokesman Kevin Sheekey to excite the press and flirt with the notion that Bloomberg “might” run, all of my sources — all of them — who are close to Bloomberg tell me that he’s shut down the Bloomberg/Hagel option and the Bloomberg/Anybody option.
Now for an open thread and a question.
I’ve already stated that on the Republican side, I think Dems can rejoice if John McCain really has offered Florida Governor Charlie Crist the VP slot. But I think to get turnout up and to generate sizzle on the Republican side, McCain has one option (scary as it is to some) and that is Mike Huckabee as VP. Others think he’ll take McCain — again that would be a huge gift to the Democratic ticket.
But on the Dem side, I have written that I believe the structural depth of the Obama campaign and Clinton campaign is so solid and deep on both sides in the party that they need each other. If Obama comes out of Texas and Ohio with a growing lead in delegates, he should head the ticket and Hillary Clinton should agree to be his running mate (if he has the magnanimity and smarts to ask) — and likewise if Hillary stages some kind of breakaway reversal of trends and trounces Obama in Ohio and Texas — and show that the big state wins are all on her side, and the superdelegates play to that form as well, Obama should be her running mate.
Clearly, I’m familiar with all of the commentary on why neither side will accept the other. I’m not sure that is true, but it would be silly to ignore the antipathy of both camps for the other.
But I’m interested in how all of you see the VP choices on both the Republican ticket with John McCain — and then VP possibilities for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
Stay civil — smart — share your thoughts.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

58 comments on “New York Today: Open Thread on VP Candidates

  1. Randy Farr says:

    I am hoping Obama wins the nomination and my favorite as his running is Sen. Webb of VA. I think his overall demeanor and military background would complement Obama’s strength very well. I was also impressed with Gov. Sibelius of Kansas on TV today. I’d like the running mate to be a new competent democrat from a red state. I’d like to keep Hillary off the ticket to avoid giving the right that target to coalesce against.

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  2. littleblackpropaganda says:

    I’ve really enjoyed everyone’s ideas. Here are mine:
    Pick someone who can (say it with me now)
    Win. A. State.
    I don’t care who it is. I like the Obama/Webb ticket because he could have a shot at Virginia. I say, screw all other considerations, and just pick someone who can win a really big state that you wouldn’t normally have a shot at. Something like Texas, or Virginia. Or, at the very least, a battleground state like Florida, Ohio, Missouri, etc.
    Win. A. State.
    Gore/Lieberman? Lieberman did not deliver a big state.
    Kerry/Edwards? Edwards did not deliver a big state.
    Obama/Texas. Obama/Florida. Obama/Win. A. State.

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  3. James Smith says:

    I do not believe it will make much difference who Mcain or Obama [if he is the nominee] pick as vice president I can see the real power shifting to the senate where the democrats will increase their majority. With Hilary Clinton as majority leader all the important legislation will come from the senate!

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  4. henry says:

    TEMOC-94 writes: “The obvious choice for Sen. Obama would be Sam Nunn.” No. As a Senator, Sam Nunn fired employees for being gay, and led the fight against his own party’s President to ban open gay people in the military. I wouldn’t want Sam Nunn to be on the ticket, wouldn’t vote for it if he was.

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  5. rollingmyeyes says:

    A tradition since Nixon is that the top guy is the good cop, the second guy is the nasty cop. Nixon had the problem if being a pretty nasty guy, so he had to really reach to find Agnue(sp!).

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  6. temoc94 says:

    The obvious choice for Sen. Obama would be Sam Nunn or Gary Hart: both “elder statesmen” types with substantial foreign policy experience, who can reassure voters worried about Obama’s lack of experience, particularly in the world of foreign affairs. And both are from strategically important regions for the Democratic Party: the south and the Rocky Mountains, respectively.
    Wes Clark or Mark Warner would be good other possibilities, although Clark is probably too close to Clinton for Obama’s taste, and of course Warner would have to leave the Virginia senate race. There is also the strong possibility that either could overshadow Obama himself when the hype dies down, as it inevitably will. This is less of a possibility with an “elder statesman” type.
    For McCain, the choice must be bold and unconventional. Lieberman and Sen. Mel Martinez are real possibilities. Huckabee would be a terrible, terrible choice; I cannot fathom what Steve Clemons is thinking, here. It would vitiate McCain’s claims to be a “different kind of Republican,” not to mention Mr. “I don’t believe in evolution” one heartbeat away from the Oval Office. It is perhaps the one thing that would absolutely, unequivocally make me promise to vote for Obama this early on.

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  7. mark says:

    I don’t think either would consent to be the other’s VP, not do I think it wise they should. Both are Democrat’s Democrats, and there should be more appeal across party lines. If Obama is the nominee, I think Hillary’s constituency will cross over to him easily. John Edwards as VP has a better chance of attracting Independents and blue collar votes, or as you’ve mentioned, Chuck Hagel. If it’s Hillary, same thing, maybe Jim Webb as well. What I’d really like to see is Hillary staying in the Senate and pushing out Harry Reid, who has shown himself to be consistently outmaneuvered and weak. It would be an interesting team – President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Clinton, and Speaker of the House Pelosi.

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  8. henry says:

    I’m always wrong about these things, but oh what the hell: McCain will pick Lieberman, who will make history as the only D & R VP candidate (and then again as the only VP candidate to lose twice); Obama will pick Webb of Virginia, and will carry Virginia on his way to the White House.

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  9. henry says:

    I’m always wrong about these things, but oh what the hell: McCain will pick Lieberman, who will make history as the only D & R VP candidate(and then again as the only VP candidate to lose twice); Obama will pick Webb of Virginia, and will carry Virginia.

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  10. RCBev says:

    Steve,
    I like this!! At least Wes Clark is being talked about.
    “Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark is signing fundraising letters for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and making campaign speeches on her behalf, raising speculation he might be auditioning as a vice-presidential nominee.
    Both Republicans and Democrats said the four-star general could do for Mrs. Clinton — or even for Sen. Barack Obama — what Vice President Dick Cheney, a former secretary of defense in the first Bush White House, did for George W. Bush in 2000.
    “Wes Clark is one of the few generals who understands military leadership as well as political leadership,” said former Rep. Butler Derrick, South Carolina Democrat. “He would help reassure voters for both [Sen. Barack Obama] and Clinton that their administrations would be firm and reliable on national defense.”
    Mr. Clark could be particularly effective to counter Sen. John McCain, the probable Republican standard-bearer, whose credentials as Vietnam War hero and Senate tenure dealing with military matters are regularly praised.
    Donald J. Devine, a Republican Party consultant and former Reagan White House official, said Mr. Clark is a central casting version of a national candidate — a sleek and immaculately coiffured general who commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo war when he was NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe.
    Mr. Derrick said Mr. Clark “would lend credibility to Clinton’s position on the war, as he was against it from the beginning, which is almost unheard of for a retired general.”
    Mr. Clark might be even more of an asset to the Illinois senator, who has little foreign policy or military experience.
    “Citizens have doubts about Obama’s depth of knowledge in this area,” said Mr. Derrick. “Wes Clark would help reassure the doubters.”
    MORE —
    “http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080220/NATION/368410515/1002/NATION”>http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080220/NATION/368410515/1002/NATION

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  11. JP2 says:

    For McCain, George Allen. I think Allen helps him in Virginia which is looking competitive this year. Plus Allen is viewed favorably within the party. More than shoring up independent support, I think McCain needs to find a way to rally the base and shore up support on his right flank amongst social conservatives and the business wing. I think Allen does more for him than Huckabee.
    If Obama gets the nomination, I think he opts for someone like Sebelius, Napalitano, or perhaps even Bill Nelson. Rather than shoring up support of core constituencies across the board, I see him looking for a VP who can help put him over the top in a state or region that he might not win otherwise. I don’t think Clinton with her high negatives helps him. Plus if he’s running as the fresh-face in a change election, he might as well go all the way rather than hedge his bets with a figure who is likely to drag down his support numbers in swing states.
    If Clinton gets the nomination we’re probably looking at Nelson, Bayh, or Wesley Clark.

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  12. gab says:

    I forgot about Portman. He would probably be at least somewhat up McCain’s alley, satisfactory to the business wing, young and with Ohio connections, and therefore perhaps as much a leading candidate as the southern/conservative guys.

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  13. gab says:

    Obama: on the one hand, it’s important that he pick someone to help fill in his holes with substantial Washington experience, all the better if in the foreign policy arena, reassurance to older voters less certain of a late-boomer, reassurance to those less comfortable with a black nominee (including, arguably, southern whites, urban white ethnics, and hispanics), and someone with a greater ability to reach working-class voters. On the other hand, he wants someone to reinforce, or at least not threaten, his message of a new politics led by new faces, one that is inclusive, pragmatic, energetic, and good-feeling. Ideally, he would get someone who works on both fronts. Hillary certainly fits the first bill, but not the second.
    Biden fits the first bill, with greater strengths on experience/foreign policy and greater weaknesses on some group appeals. He would also probably come closer to fitting the second with his sunniness and outspokenness. The latter, plus his lower name-recognition, might mitigate his insider image and render him less old hat than Clinton. Given the perception of his “clean, articulate” remark, the pick might also increase Obama’s crossover appeal, but it could backfire too. And while the goal should be to play for the middle, the pick would be far from beloved by many or most liberals and young people. Furthermore, while Delaware is not completely Northern, it’s still too Eastern to be anything new from the Dems. Ultimately, I’d say close but no cigar.
    Jim Webb would likely go further towards balancing the twin goals, and is potentially a serious candidate depending on whether Obama would/should take the risk on his Senate seat. He’s certainly got experience, and he’s certainly a new face – this is not the old Democratic party. But he might go too far on that front – while his toughness on the war and perceived populist economic tone would excite bloggers, and probably do important work to hold onto and attract more Reagan dems in the swingable South and midwest, it’s possible that he might be insufficiently reassuring to important parts of the Dem coalition, including seniors and hispanics. And while his experience is certainly not limited to the defense arena, it still strikes me as a touch defensive and/or too-clever-by-half to pick a military-oriented guy, even in a ‘time of war’, in the age of the small, volunteer military.
    Sebelius might strike a better balance than anyone else. Her combination of age, gender, demeanor, novelty and experience seem to place her at just the right inflection point between those who want some assurance that they will be taken care of and those who want something new and different. She’s an outsider and a new face who is popular in a Red state, but one with executive experience and demonstrated success working/fighting towards traditional Dem goals, particularly in health care (I think she has some at least nominal Washington experience – on Clinton’s health care task force?). The drawback is that she does nothing to make the ticket more macho. Which isn’t an important end in and of itself – Obama is already sufficiently jocular for some dems and in any event must stand on his own two feet in this regard – but picking her again leaves out any representation of the poor white male. My speculation/hope would be that her Catholicism, her family ties to Ohio, and her current state’s situation near the crossroads of a number of different regions would be sufficiently appealing to various demographics to overcome this weakness, perhaps by a significant margin. We could do worse than to nominate two candidates who have played in Peoria and Wichita.
    Finally, I think of Sam Nunn as a dark horse. While he would do nothing to excite, and might anger, liberals and the entitlement-oriented parts of the base (quite possibly including Obama himself), those impacts might be mitigated by his nuclear-freeze work and age/obama’s race, respectively. He would lock in the experience question without overshadowing Obama on the macho demeanor front. And he would certainly reinforce the bipartisanship message with a face that might be so old/off-the-radar-screen it could play as new again. And it would be a bold move to try to put together a black-white coalition to play for the heart of the South. I’m not sure Obama wouldn’t take a risk on alienating gays politically while working towards their policy goals.
    The x factor here is if Obama privileges ideological/attitudinal commonality while paying less attention to the other interests at play. By picking someone like fellow hoopster-intellect Bill Bradley. Or Gary Hart, an old new-ideas face from a new Dem battleground. Or fellow sub-60-er Mark Warner, the DSCC be damned.
    Hillary: an unripe or moot question? I’ll dodge it by saying that she needs Obama at this point.
    McCain: The party’s desire for someone to better appeal to/excite the bible belt and grow into a future standbearer will encourage him to pick someone southern and/or evangelical, and younger, perhaps substantially younger, than 60. I assume the leading candidates to be Sanford, Pawlenty and Thune, with post-Katrina Haley Barbour a dark horse, assuming that Jeb, Crist and Graham are not serious possibilities. While McCain has relationships and/or sympathy with all of these, his ‘maverick’ disposition and desire/need to preserve his crossover appeal in the northern tier may push him towards someone older and less culturally conservative that he regards as better prepared and/or more personally/ideologically sympatico. Colin Powell would be at least moderately game-changing, assuming he’s willing to sign on, and Kay Bailey Hutchison could have a little bit of a similar impact. Another outside possibility is Tom Ridge, who has both economic and security experience. My instinct says it’s Sanford (perhaps only because the Pawlenty talk is so stale), but to watch out for a wild card.

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  14. Mark says:

    Clinton: Obama
    Obama: Wes Clark

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  15. bruce says:

    For Obama..Gov. Sebilius or Napolitano or for a real “out of the box”, sure fire prospect to set her up to become the first woman to serve as our Prsident (in 2016)So. Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
    I can see the argument for Webb, Biden, Clinton, McKasgill..any number of Senate Democrats but I’m enough of a beat down purple State Minnesota (how the hell did we ever become purple??…but we are) Democrat to be against the idea of opening up 2 Senate seats at one time that are held by Democrats. We lost a couple of them over the past 30 years after the death of Hubert Humphrey when those hard won seats were shuffled around through appointments. Wendell Anderson should have been standing in line to shut off the Reagan spigot in 1984, but was out of the political picture after attempting to set up a seat for himself with a Governor’s appointment. And, of course, the scrammble to fill the Wellstone canidacy that brought us to settle on the classic “old white guy” that favored us with Norman Coleman.
    Gov. Sebilius would be my easy 1st choice. Her presence on the ticket would absolutely galvanize the teetering “Obamacin” faction.
    For McCain..who cares. Hopefully Huckabee or, better yet, Phil Gramm, Rick Santorum, Tom Delay or young Mr. “Macaca” Allen of Va.

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  16. Kathleen says:

    I don’t care who McCain picks, no one would make me vote for him…
    For Demz I have three choices, Russ Feingold, Russ Feingold and Russ Feingold. He walks his talk and has more spine than the whole rest of the party put together. Of course that probably will disqualify him.

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  17. Carroll says:

    I see Kosovo is showing their appreciation for US today.
    My advice to the world is..when you see a plane load of US congressmeddlers heading for your country, shoot the plane down and save yourselves a revolution later.

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  18. TonyForesta says:

    The democrats have an outstanding team of leaders anyone of whom would be an outstanding VP, or some other high level cabinet official.
    For unity of democratic Obama and Hillary.
    For unity of the nation, Obama and Collin Powel.
    I do not care what the fascists do or who they attempt to hoist upon us.

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  19. RonK, Seattle says:

    Specifics for McCain — Thune, Portman, Kasich, Pawlenty, Daniels. Whitman? Watts?
    Balance (geo or ideo) and key state clout don’t matter much to McCain. He wins or loses depending when Obama implodes.
    Likewise, balance won’t matter to Obama, but no woman or minority. Credibility in succession will matter. More important than VP: Who would serve as Obama’s Chief of Staff?
    Main hurdle for Obama’s running mate: staying non message. (Another reason it can’t be Clinton, or a lot of other people.)
    Likely a DLC type, which progressives will see accept as “balance” and conservatives will hear (correctly) as affirmation. Bayh, Schweitzer, Easley. Zinni. Bloomberg? For insurance, Harold Ford? Would Mark Warner take a call?
    Clinton’s prospect also depend on the timing of Obama’s implosion. White male, exec. Clark, Bayh, among others. An attack dog (Dodd?) would relieve her of that burden, for which she’ll otherwise be disproportionately ripped by media.

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  20. dckrl says:

    VP possibilities:
    Obama — Janet Napolitano
    Clinton — Ed Rendell, Phil Bredesen
    McCain — Mark Sanford, Matt Blunt

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  21. Jud says:

    I agree that Richardson deserves serious consideration for the #2 slot, whichever candidate takes the top spot. An important issue that I have yet to see anyone address is how/whether either Hillary or Obama will undo the damage to the relationship between president and vice president done by the current administration. Who fills the VP slot is obviously germane if this issue is in play.

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  22. bob h says:

    The thing that concerns me as a Hillary supporter is how much bad blood there is going to be on our side if Obama prevails (many warning they will vote for McCain, etc.) So I would love to see her accept his offer.
    Barring that, I think Obama really lacks gravitas, so would like to see him choose somebody like Biden, who will throw McCain’s rubbish back in his face.
    I dearly hope Obama does not choose some Red State lady governor.

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  23. Will says:

    Steve,
    Putting Hillary on the ticket brings all of the Clinton baggage with zero benefit. The reason why Obama waxes McCain is because Obama is young, fresh and likeable. While it’s beginning to sound like a cliche, people are ready for a change. Adding Hillary destroys that completely while simultaneously motivating a whole group of people to get out and vote…Trust me on this one.
    Moreover, is there really any doubt who Hillary’s supporters are going be voting for in the fall if she doesn’t get the nod?
    Go with Richardson. He’s a good guy with good international experience…Right now that’s Obama’s perceived weak point (even though he talks a good game).

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  24. Dan Kervick says:

    How about Tim Kaine from Virginia? He’s in a swing state and is a strong Obama supporter, and from what I gather a popular and successful governor.
    Also, Obama is likely to be attacked hard from the right on gun control, and Kaine’s connection with and positive response to the Virginia Tech incident could help make him a credible and authoritative voice in defending the Obama position.
    I would like to see Webb stay in the Senate where he can do a lot of good for us on a daily basis, rather than be wasted in the relatively useless Vice Presidency.

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  25. oderb says:

    For Obama Governor Brian Schweitzter of Montana would be a great choice…progressive, incredibly popular, lived and worked all over the world…..photogenic family….farmer…
    For McCain…..Governor Mark Sanford….

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  26. RonK, Seattle says:

    Republicans should preview a presidential candidate for 2012 … someone who can start the 2012 campaign in November 2008, keep peppering an Obama administration even before it takes office, capitalize on the backlash midterm election of 2010 (which sets the state leges for decennial redistricting even if it doesn’t achieve a Gingrich sweep in DC), and go for the knockout in 2012. Should be telegenic, malleable (as the party doesn’t have its post-Bush persona invented yet), and posted close enough to the action.

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  27. Zathras says:

    Gov. Pawlenty of Minnesota will wind up being Sen. McCain’s running mate. Obama’s will be Gov. Strickland of Ohio.

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  28. george washington hayduke says:

    I would have said Senator Webb would make a fine choice to balance out the ticket with Senator Obama… until Senator Webb voted for telecom immunity. Maybe a stricter constitutional like Senator Dodd would be good for the law, but he would have a harder time attracting crossover voters. Likely it won’t be a Senator, imho, so I suppose you have to look at Governors.

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  29. also lived in fla says:

    re: I live in Florida….the three words that come to mind every time I see or hear our illustrious Governor Crist are….”empty suit” and “lightweight”. He appears to have little substance behind his banal platitudes and cheery demeanor.
    ********
    IOW, he’s *perfect* Veep material.
    there is of course the little matter of rumors regarding his sex life…the party doesn’t need another larry craig or mark foley kind of story.

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  30. JayT says:

    Not much about the Pubs and the VP choice on that side, so even though I care more about the Dems here is my take on the Pubs VP choice. This election is going to be all about the center — and for the Pubs especially about their ticket’s ability to take from the center and the Independents — this is really why McCain is even the nominee. He needs someone to help take a big share of the center/Independent vote and it looks like he will have to neutralize the historic ticket on the Dems side somehow (especially if it is Sen. Obama). As I see it, he has one choice and one choice only to make it a REAL race (assuming the Iseman thing does not have legs and no real skeletons emerge on the Dems side) — Colin Powell.

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  31. CheckingIn says:

    DK: Exactly! — so why on earth would Clemons even think of having Clinton as VP when there are far more QUALIFIED individuals to choose from — with far more superior experience and judgment…
    Grief — Why should Obama have to pay back Democratic $$ interests — ick…

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  32. Carroll says:

    I am not even going to guess. There are probably going to be more twists and turns before we get to a VP candidate.
    Anyone but McCain is all I care about.

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  33. Dan Kervick says:

    There is simply no political benefit at all for Obama to select Hillary Clinton. Instead, it’s all downside. Clinton attracts hardly any voters to the ticket that Obama is not going to get anyway. On the other hand, she will scare off a substantial number of independents and potential crossover Republicans. Her political operation is essentially just the established and traditional Democratic party machinery, and that operation will be mobilized for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is. And she brings all her baggage with her. Why would the Obama campaign want to tie that albatross around its neck?

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  34. JamesL says:

    Roger that by SW: If the object is the good of the country, Clinton and Obama’s egos should not stand in the way of them forming a team. The talents of both would be needed. However, they would not in any sense be pacifists on the world scene, and with a broken US military, the next prez will not have the freedom to pull the trigger as capriciously as Bush has. Those who think Obama is all words should remind themselves that words are the essence of diplomacy which, if effective, is almost always cheaper than weaponry, and with less blowback. America also needs a long stint of elevated presidential and vice presidential discourse to offset the last 7 years of presidential verbal idiocy. Yes Gloria, it is possible for presidents to speak clearly and coherently. The other “however” is the depth of negativity against Clinton, and I speak not of electability, but of her ability to effectively work with people afterward. Having said that, America cannot afford to have “those who hate the most” direct the selection of candidates. VP? Somebody not afraid to open his mouth–Kucinich, Gravel, Clark, Gore–but with good grasp of policy and history, and with good diplomatic skills. (Remember back when VP’s were the good will ambassadors of the President rather than bad hunters or prolific threateners?) But Kucinich, Gravel, and Clark hover near the bottom on electability, and Gore is drenched by the Clinton aroma continually being sprayed by Clinton haters. Internationally, Gore would play very well, based on his experience and his climate change work, which the rest of the world does think is highly important. In terms of value and capability however, and excluding right wing mud slinging: Gore.

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  35. Bill R. says:

    Hillary is toast for top on the ticket. And I don’t think she would accept second billing in anything.
    Veep for Obama, Wes Clark. He brings some of the Clinton camp with him. He has a huge network of his own, still intact from 2004, very loyal supporters. And he brings big nat. security gravitas.

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  36. Jim says:

    I’m for Obama, but I like Hillary Clinton a lot. Why on earth would she step down from the Senate into the Veepship, which is only useful as a stepping stone to the presidency, for which she will be, practically speaking, too old in 2016. She can do a lot more good for the party and the county as a Senator (even Majority Leader) than as Veep. (Obama is pretty much HRC’s only choice at this point, if she pulls it out).
    Much better choices for Obama: Clark, Biden, Edwards… Theis campaign did not do a lot for my opinion of Richardson. Dark Horse: Your old boss Bingaman? Southwesterner, fairly conservative. Does he have any foreign policy chops?
    Is there any reason to think Hagel would accept the Veep spot from Obama? It would surprise me. SecDef… fine.

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  37. Ducktape says:

    For either Hillary OR Obama (and I don’t think either would choose the other): Wes Clark
    Especially for Obama.
    And forget Hagel — I like him personally, but he’s acceptable only on his foreign policy views, and UNacceptable on everything else (and to Republicans). The Democratic Party has a deep enough bench to find lots of good candidates without doing a “unity” pander.

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  38. Charlie says:

    Steve, I’m not so sure I agree with you that Charlie Crist is a bad choice. His approval rating in Florida is a reflection of his effectiveness — something that has earned him the respect of Republicans, Democrats and Independents in a state that remains deeply divided along several lines (evangelical vs. non-evangelical, Dem v. Republican, Cuban-American v. crackers, east coast retirees v. midwest retirees, development/agriculture v. environmentalists, etc. etc. etc.). Crist is smart, articulate, and conveys a sense of energy and purpose. Hey could prove to have impact beyond Florida.
    That said, I don’t think it will be Crist — like you, I think McCain will go for an evangelical. But I don’t think it will be Huckabee. Sam Brownback is in my mind the most likely candidate for a variety of reasons.
    On the Democratic side, Obama is unlikely to pick Hillary in large part because I don’t think he needs her. He is far more likely to choose a candidate that either adds to his coalition in an area of relative demographic weakness (e.g. Richardson, Sebelius) or someone who adds foreign policy heft (e.g. Biden, Daschle, Hegel, Clark). I don’t see Webb or Tim Kaine in the mix — not enough experience.
    But knowing Obama, he’ll go for someone outside the box, someone who will reinforce his themes while adding somehow to his coalition. In those terms, look at his relationship with Richard Lugar. I’d be the first to express strong doubt that Lugar would accept, but it certainly would be a stunner.

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  39. serge says:

    I’m pulling this out of my butt, *but*, if Obama makes it through all of this, I think he should think about one of the thirty-something House caucus. Perhaps Tim Ryan or even Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. If we’re going to change, let’s really get progressive.

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  40. Matt says:

    The image of the Democratic Party that would be projected by a Clinton-Obama/Obama-Clinton ticket might not be favorable. In general, it would look like a ruling triumvirate, or at least, an executive committee rather than a unitary executive. This might be in some sense aligned with democratic ideology, but I think it would be a stretch to look at that as something that most Americans admire. I think it runs counter to Barack’s image of hope and change and fits more nicely with Hillary’s somewhat muddled blend of experience and change at the same time.
    For McCain, I agree that his best option is Huckabee, but I think that no matter what he is gonna be screwed. There will serious problems between the two of them on a personal level.

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  41. Michael Ditto says:

    While I love Webb and think he’d be a great VP, we need him in the Senate. No one in the Senate quite has the same fire in the belly, and it took a lot of work and money and luck to get him there.
    Richardson would be a reasonable choice if it weren’t for his pandering to the left on the war by making unreasonable promises with regards to troop withdrawals. I was an early supporter, but I was stunned when he did that. It was absolutely out of character for him, and it leaves me with questions as to his suitability for that office.
    I think it would be wise for either Democrat to pick a westerner as a running mate. Not only is the west a growth area for Democrats, but John McCain could prove to be a tough nut to crack out here. It would also be wise to pick a VP candidate who is not going to project the image of being co-president. I think people are wary of having a strong and unaccountable VP like Cheney and they want a return to a more traditional role for the VP.
    For Obama in particular, someone with a good track record dealing with the House and Senate is in order to blunt criticism over lack of experience. Many comparisons between Clinton and Lyndon Johnson have been made, suggesting that she has the dirt on the Senate and would therefore be better-suited to ram legislation through. The VP has a Constitutional role in the Senate, and is the perfect surrogate for that supposed experience.
    For Hillary in particular, someone with a very low-key personality is in order. No matter how much strength Hillary shows, she is going to be subject to the prejudice that women are weak. She can’t have a VP candidate who upstages her in any way, or she will risk being cast as weak despite all evidence to the contrary.
    For McCain, I wrestle with the idea that he could be transformative for the Republican party, finally extracting the party from the grip of the far-right and returning it somewhat to the middle on social issues. That is out of the question if he chooses a far-right zealot like Huckabee. So he has two choices–appeal to the base by choosing a religious conservative and hope they turn out the voters, or punt and choose a more centrist candidate such as Christine Todd Whitman who might help pull the party back from the breach and appeal to women voters.

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  42. marty says:

    I live in Florida….the three words that come to mind every time I see or hear our illustrious Governor Crist are….”empty suit” and “lightweight”. He appears to have little substance behind his banal platitudes and cheery demeanor.

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  43. Lee says:

    I’d have no objection to an Obama-Clinton (or Clinton-Obama) ticket. But I question whether either would be interested in the veep slot. Clinton is positioned to be an influential Senator, possibly Majority Leader. Obama is at the beginning of his Senate career and has many options. How would the vice presidency offer anything more than what either of them already have?
    But who knows. It would certainly assure Democratic Party unity.
    If Obama is the nominee, and if he’s serious about reaching out to Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, Chuck Hagel would be the ideal choice as a running mate. Obama specifically praised Hagel in a Newsweek interview for representing “the best tradition in foreign policy.” Hagel said over a year ago that he would consider running with Obama.
    Hagel has distinguished himself on foreign policy, particularly in relating to the Muslim world and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His status as a decorated combat veteran is arguably more relevant military experience (and Hagel has pointed this out) than McCain’s experience as a POW.
    Obama has the advantage of acknowledging that the Iraq war was “a strategic error” and what needs to change is “the mindset that got us into Iraq.” Obama will be able to confront McCain on national security issues in a way Clinton cannot do because she voted for the war resolution and has never expressed regret or even misgivings about that vote.
    In that regard, Hagel is the ideal complement for Obama in setting America on a new and more progressive direction in foreign policy.

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  44. calling all toasters says:

    I think Webb would be a great choice for Obama: a white male with defense experience who also represents change in Washington. Plus, you win Virginia. I mean, what else do you want? Wes Clark fills the bill, too, and might be a peace offering to the Clintons.
    McCain needs someone younger and with ties to the evangelicals, so Huckabee would seem to be the choice–except that his views are unacceptable to most of the public. Also, Huckabee would overshadow McCain due to his charisma. So he needs someone who’s been made blandly corporate in D.C. Santorum springs to mind, but seems to be forgotten these days. I have no idea who else would fill the bill.

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  45. Chicagoan says:

    Steve, Clinton is a dead letter. Her reputation as a policy polymath is one of the great hoaxes of all time, she’s run a shrill, vile Potemkin campaign, and she’s been dealt one of the all time political thrashings after pissing away unprecedented advantages. But not for these reasons do I want her absolutely nowhere near the ticket! Rather, the idea of her (and Bill!) running the Fourth Branch with all their psychodrama is just unbearable. Someone get this woman off the stage; Obama will hire her decent policy advisers, and she can go back to posing as the new Patrick Moynihan.
    Al Gore really needs to take the job. I can’t think of anyone else with the mastery over government to undo what Cheney has done.

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  46. carsick says:

    For McCain, I saw Rob Portman’s name mentioned in a speculative article. Those of us who know him have always thought that the White House is his ultimate goal. I just don’t see how it could help McCain though. Portman could possibly deliver Ohio and win over economic focused conservatives and independents but he does nothing to cement the evangelical base. McCain will need enthusiastic support from the base to have any chance. Independents won’t be enough. Plus, if Obama gets the nod I assume he will attract a number of independents himself.

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  47. pauline says:

    Obama, the rock star, is on fire across America and the HRC camp should have her name withdrawn.
    HRC carries more negative baggage for him and if Obama’s campaign stumbles, it would be in picking her as a VP.
    Democrats have bought into his message of hope even without the details coming forth. People do want change in a big way and HRC and McCain are definitely both believers and worshippers of the old way.
    If Obama gets the nomination, I’d prefer someone like Biden or Chris Dodd. HRC is burnt toast and it’s time to turn the corner from anything, anybody “Clinton”.

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  48. KKM says:

    I think you are wrong about Obama needing Hillary’s structure. As far as I can tell, Hillary’s structure is fairly tied to the institutional structure of the Democratic party, such as it is. In red states, where the party is weaker, she has nothing. In the blue states, where the party is stronger, she does much better. Those people are not going anywhere and can certainly be tapped by Obama in the general election.
    Obama needs someone who will not detract from his basic presentation about hope and change, but also gives some level of comfort to voters nervous about the prospect of a young, relatively unknown non-white as president. To me, Clinton’s choice of Gore is the best choice that I have seen. He didn’t detract from Clinton’s overall presentation, but brought useful experience.
    As much as it would be great to see him choose a woman (as redemption for preventing Hilary from being the historic first), I think he would probably best served by selecting a white male (sorry to say it) of his generation, but with some foreign policy/military heft.
    The problem is that I can’t think of anyone who fits that description.

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  49. jim miller says:

    JohnH—
    Thanks for the FT link….articulate article….if she wants to win a national campaign she needs to address her negatives…too strong and too laden in the electorate for her to win a primary with a strong challenger much less a general.

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  50. JohnH says:

    Before getting to the distraction of VP selection, we still need to select presidential candidates.
    Hillary should step aside to save the Clinton legacy from its reputation for calculation, ruthlessness, and winning at all cost without consideration for the toll. A tad of graciousness now would put her in an excellent position for the VP slot, a future presidential run, or actually developing a track record of accomplishment in the Senate.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d0a7b582-dfb9-11dc-8073-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1

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  51. Robert M. says:

    (1) CLINTON — Obama might ask out of courtesy though I suspect his camp will get strong signals NO THANKS way before that (after all as SM Leader she could finally get some personal revenge on the VRWC, like crushing judicial nominations from the remaining Red States). Not going to happen.
    (2) CLINTON (Bill) — too off the wall but it would really make use of his gladhandling skills, and you’d ALWAYS know where he was and who he was sleeping with. And he’s no threat to pull a Cheney. But see one above. Not going to happen.
    (3) RICHARDSON — is a big schlep, good around a table or small setting but not an outdoor campaigner. And the OPPO on him re sex is Let’s Not Go There, OK? Not going to happen.
    (3) The OTHER SENATORS — Biden, nope, Dodd, nope, Hagel (a GOPer?) nope & so forth. Webb perhaps but he has “loose cannon” qualities, remember the Aide and the Gun Story but the gun was Webb’s? Not that carting a gun around would hurt him the South of course but still…
    (4) A FORMER senator — hhmmm, Tom Daschle is available and he can campaign, experienced, reassurring, “Westerner” comfortable on the Coasts, just no pizzazz, but if the candidate has THAT somebody like TD could be good. Reassurring and though a Washington hand he’s been removed for a few years so “sanitized”.
    (5) GOVERNORS (female) — I like Kansas. She’s adept, a good campaigner at least locally, persuasive in small groups, does not come close to grating on males (I know, I know), unknown re Oppo research, has brought Repubs over to Dem side recently, has a self-made success story, etc.
    (6) Out beyond center field — which leaves people like Bloomberg as The Man Who ReMade NYC (he could go well past 63% at next NYC election & he’s so “business” & really think of all that free advertisement re The Bloomberg Report & he brings his own money!). Got to be others.
    My own out there idea is to draft Elizabeth Edwards & so how can John NOT campaign? The younger kids are too young, I know.
    And finally, my sure it ain’t going to happen but–> MICHELLE!!.
    After all, look at the dumb luck Obama is now getting. One day the Dittos & McCain are gearing up to hose her about “really proud finally” and the next, A HUGE Karma Byte hits McCain. SO–
    MICHELLE OBAMA FOR VEEP!
    Revolutionary Change

    Reply

  52. selise says:

    for clinton – i like wes clark
    for obama – i like either hagel or possibly chaffee (hagel if running against mccain).
    imo, these are good choices that build on the narrative each candidate has built for themselves.

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  53. SW says:

    I think that for Clinton and Obama both this is a test of all their high sounding rhetoric. What is more important to them, there political ambition and ego or the good of the country, If either of them are unwilling to sacrifice that ambition to the common goal of preventing another Republican administration, it has to make you wonder about their suitability for the position to which they aspire.

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  54. jim miller says:

    1. HRC’s negatives are too high for the top or bottom of the ticket(though if NYT story has real teeth then Ken Lay could rise from the dead and beat mack in an economic narrative campaign)the numbers dont lie so I cant play…I cant do what if’s around a strategy that involves cheating to win the nomination…can’t and won’t.
    2. Obama vp’s—-too early to tell who would help…my knee jerk says foreign policy—Joe Biden comes to mind, even some of TWN’s pals(chaffee or hagel)
    3. based on polling against mccain this could be a watrshed election in which a president is elected with a robust mandate to lead…if this continues to play out as the numbers strongly suggest then it will be very important that obama will choose someone who can drive legistlation….
    4. Currently obama doesnt need electoral help from the bottom of ticket but he will he help driving his people driven thru washington’s sludge…healthcare/jobs/infrastructure/education/trade—to name a few of the important issues that have been ignored since b4 the impeachment debacle….
    5. Bottom line—It’s too soon to tell but the ideal canidate will be a nice synthesis of foreign policy fell good and legistlative wisdom/might.
    6. in light of recent events the McCain thing is more unclear…although Huck does have a history of cleaning up after two timers….just kidding..kinda. We need to see how this unfolds but he cant win with huck down ticket versus obama….obama captures the middle in an economic narrative…what value is huck besides making sure 42% of the countey vote red?

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  55. Bob Gale says:

    1. Bill Richardson comes to mind first for either of them: Governor, foreign policy knowledge; and Hispanic…this would especially help Obama.
    2. Obama would probably rather have Hillary lose the general election on her own so he, 4 years from now, could say “I told you so.” Much of his support is excessively narcissistic, immature, and, I suspect, republicans thinking he’ll be easier to defeat.
    3. Joe Biden or Chuck Hagel would also be excellent choices for either of them.
    4. Given the mentality of the America I know (read “Dumb and Dumber”), it would be truly amazing if either of them won the general election. But then I’m finally a cynical old white male.

    Reply

  56. Bob Gale says:

    1. Bill Richardson comes to mind first for either of them: Governor, foreign policy knowledge; and Hispanic…this would especially help Obama.
    2. Obama would probably rather have Hillary lose the general election on her own so he, 4 years from now, could say “I told you so.” Much of his support is excessively narcissistic, immature, and, I suspect, republicans thinking he’ll be easier to defeat.
    3. Joe Biden or Chuck Hagel would also be excellent choices for either of them.
    4. Given the mentality of the America I know (read “Dumb and Dumber”), it would be truly amazing if either of them won the general election. But then I’m finally a cynical old white male.

    Reply

  57. Morris Meyer says:

    In Obama we have a candidate capable of performing a “Reagan Democrats” transformation on the electorate, with the combination of turnout and young voter outreach tools for that demographic change.
    I believe it is important to chose a VP candidate that matches his resonance – his emotionally direct oratory. That candidate is Jim Webb, and his State of the Union response last year shows how capable he is in holding down the bottom half of the ticket.
    Regarding choosing Clinton as the VP – I think he staggering knowledge of policy would be best put to bear as Senate Majority Leader.

    Reply

  58. LBH says:

    I think you are wrong on the Democratic side but I don’t think the reason is that neither would accept the other. Neither should seek the other and here’s why:
    1) Obama – he needs an “old” white male as his running mate, preferably someone who would have a lot of foreign policy or military cred. He definitely should not seek Hillary who would be a burden when it comes to independents, attracting Republicans and even if you just compare the McCain vs. Obama ticket – she would not help his campaign.
    2) Clinton – it’s more likely that she would “need” Obama – he can help her appear like a change candidate etc, but still, to counter any gender/race problems and her own lack of experience (because next to McCain she’s inexperienced, and also there is a serious question as to whether she can count being a spouse as real experience against McCain), she will need a white male with military or economic experience. She could also probably go for a more traditional choice – a governor that can deliver swing states. Another thing to consider on her side – nobody that wants to be a significant VP would want to have to fight for impact and influence with Bill… She is more likely to rely on someone with lesser visibility.

    Reply

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