Veep Speculation Runs Rampant, With or Without Clinton and Obama

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Let's be honest, the veepstakes is the funnest part of any presidential election. It's like drafting your fantasy baseball team, except you're not drunk and your Internet didn't freeze right when you were picking. Yesterday the leading Democrats did their best to ruin the good times: Hillary Clinton's campaign said that "she is not seeking the vice-presidency" and "[t]he choice here is Senator Obama’s and his alone," and Barack Obama told reporters that, "The next time you hear from me about the vice-presidential selection process will be when I have selected a vice-president." Which only means everyone will have to speculate even harder to make up for his reticence. As long as people are throwing names out there, we say … Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks. The guy is nationally beloved, he's a kind of war veteran, and he's already endorsed Obama in a weird Web video. Other people are taking a more sober (but less imaginative) look at where the VP race stands.

• Jill Lawrence notes that Clinton's statement "did not categorically rule out accepting the position, if offered," but was likely meant to take the pressure off Obama. [USAT]

• Scott Helman writes that "in the so-called veepstakes, publicly vying for the job is considered impolitic and the wrong way to get picked," and so Clinton's "disavowal of her supporters' efforts" should really be taken with a grain of salt. [Boston Globe]

• John Mercurio reminds us of how much McCain's base "hates" Clinton and that putting her on the ticket would fire them up. [National Journal via MSNBC]

• George Will, like many in the past few days, believes Obama would define himself as "flimsy" and "someone who can be pushed around" if he picks Clinton as his running mate under duress. [WP]

• David Weinberger suggests opening up the veep selection process in the spirit of transparency which Obama promises to bring to government. Without giving the masses too much power, Obama could hold some of the conversations with potential VPs in public or set up a discussions board where people could have their say and let the selection committee know what they think. [HuffPo]

• Walter Shapiro calls the VP-selection process "potentially the most important un-democratic election in the world" and trying to follow it "akin to a game of Clue played wearing earplugs and blindfolds." He thinks "a far more democratic way of choosing a vice president would be to leave the decision to the convention itself." [Salon]

• And oh, right, McCain: Chuck Todd and friends wouldn't be surprised if a member of the bipartisan "Citizens for McCain" initiative — Charlie Crist, Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, or Joe Lieberman — ended up joining his ticket, giving it a "bipartisan" image. [First Read/MSNBC]

• Neil Sinhababu has ten reasons why John Edwards should be Obama's VP (except that Edwards told Spanish newspapers today that he's not interested). [Washington Monthly]

• Chris Cillizza lays out his top most likely veep selections, with Ohio governor Ted Strickland in first place for Obama, and Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty for McCain. [Fix/WP]

• Jim Geraghty thinks Ohio governor Ted Strickland's chances of becoming VP might be hampered because while campaigning for Clinton, he said, "The March 4 primary is not about selecting the 'next American idol.'" That "mocking attack-ad" just writes itself. [Campaign Spot/National Review] —Dan Amira

Related: Secret Clinton-Obama Rendezvous Makes Reporters Go Bonkers

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.