early and often

Who’s Ready to Pick a Vice-President?

obama and mccain

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When it was first described as a “Dream Ticket” lo those many months ago, supporters of the pairing of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton thought the two would be an unstoppable force in the general election, steamrolling across the country and leaving only a barren wasteland in their wake (in a good way). Now the “Dream Ticket” is usually referred to as the “Unity Ticket,” and it’s main justification is appeasing Clinton’s legions of followers, some of whom have told pollsters they’re willing to vote Republican in November. Many experts believe, though, that Clinton is up for the teaming but Obama is not, so things could get awkward. John McCain is also in the process of selecting a vice-president (without any help, his campaign claims), and given his age, many morbid people are quick to point out the importance of his selection.

• Maureen Dowd speculates that Obama could punish Clinton by offering her the veep slot — then announce that in light of Dick Cheney’s abuse of power, he is shrinking the vice-presidency back down to “a bucket of warm spit.” But he probably shouldn’t choose her regardless, since she has had “a strange, unnerving effect on Obama, and whenever he is around her, he’s unable to do his best.” [NYT]

• Robert Novak reports that Obama insiders think their boss will never offer Clinton the veep slot — and it’s due in large part to Michelle Obama’s disdain for her. Ohio governor Ted Strickland may instead be a front-runner. He could swing his vital state to Obama and bring the campaign “maturity … experience … and moderation” (Strickland has an “A” rating from the NRA). [Chicago Sun-Times]

• Chuck Todd and friends say that all the “smarty-pants, Inside-the-Beltway types” think a unity ticket is a bad idea. But because many rank-and-file Democrats who like both candidates would like to see it happen, Clinton is going to have to “let Obama off the hook in some way.” [First Read/MSNBC ]

• Margaret Talev highlights a group, composed entirely of Clinton backers, pushing for a unity ticket headed up by Clinton or Obama. [McClatchy ]

• Carl Bernstein says friends of Clinton are convinced she’ll try to get the VP spot, while Obama and his wife will in turn try to resist giving in to her. One reason Clinton will campaign aggressively is that “she doesn’t look forward to” returning to the Senate.” [CNN ]

• Scott Lemieux isn’t buying that Obama needs Clinton’s supporters: Clinton’s supporters simply aren’t “narcissistic” enough to back McCain. Plus, Clinton doesn’t bring in a swing state, doesn’t offer military experience but supported the war, has high negatives and perhaps receives unfair treatment from the media, and finally, may not appeal to working-class voters as well as some other potential running mates do. [Tapped/American Prospect]

• The Chicago Tribune editorial board looks at suitable veep candidates for Obama or Clinton and McCain. McCain’s choice is especially important because “his vice president would have a higher-than-average statistical likelihood of ascending” because of McCain’s old age. They mention Condi Rice, Tom Ridge, Lindsay Graham, Lamar Alexander, and former Democrat Joe Lieberman as possibilities. For the Democrats, Obama and Clinton “should consider each other” as well as Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein, Bob Kerrey, and Max Cleland. [Chicago Tribune]

• Ezra Klein agrees that McCain’s VP pick is of paramount importance: “If voters can’t imagine the VP taking office, then they probably won’t let McCain get there, either.” He notes that conservative bloggers at RedState prefer Rhode Island governor Don Carcieri and Rob Portman, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, and they hate Tim Pawlenty, Condi Rice, and Mitt Romney for the position. [American Prospect]

• Barron YoungSmith disagrees with those who think McCain should pick a minority for his VP. Considering that Obama’s race has been said to cost him 15 to 20 percent of the vote, wouldn’t picking a minority simply jeopardize McCain’s support among, well, racists? Plus, he wouldn’t really steal many minority votes from Obama anyway. [Stump/New Republic] —Dan Amira

Related: Heilemann: Ten Thought Experiments Exploring the Possibility of Hillary Clinton, Nominee [NYM]
Don’t Go, Hill, Says Columbia Prof [NYM]

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.

Who’s Ready to Pick a Vice-President?