Obama VP Buzz
by Todd Beeton, Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 01:13:18 PM EDT
The VP speculation buzz today is that Barack Obama's VP vetting team, which includes Caroline Kennedy, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and the former CEO of mortgage lender Fannie Mae, Jim Johnson, are seriously considering former military leaders among their shortlist.
From The AP:
North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad told The Associated Press said the team asked him about potential candidates from three broad categories -- current top elected officials, former top elected officials, and former top military leaders.
Conrad would not disclose which names they discussed, and the Obama campaign has been keeping the process a closely guarded secret.
"We talked about many names," Conrad said, including "some that are out of the box but I think would be very well received by the American people, including former top military leaders."
Who are these former military leaders? First Read profiles one of the lesser known among those that were discussed.
Ret. Gen. James Jones, the former Marine-turned-NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
Jones, a Vietnam vet born in Kansas City, MO (swing state alert!), was a career military officer rising to one of the highest posts possible. Now retired, Jones has been critical of the number of troops currently in Afghanistan. He's been appointed to independent posts by both the Democratic Congress and the Republican-run State Department
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.
First Read goes on to provide a larger list of the names "bandied about with congressional Dems":
Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Ted Strickland, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and Sam Nunn.
Besides Jones, I'm told the two other names that invited extended discussion were Biden and Strickland.
If this list is an accurate reflection of the Obama campaign's thinking, it would appear that their strategy is to use the running-mate to shore up a perceived deficit in Obama's resume (i.e. national security) rather than to shore up any particular demographic group or region, although of course a couple of the candidates do kill a couple of birds.
Update [2008-6-10 17:17:8 by Josh Orton]: Strickland's thoughts on the idea - would he?
Asked on NPR's "All Things Considered" if he is auditioning to be Obama's running mate, Strickland said, "Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve. So, I dont know how more crystal clear I can be."Sounds like a strong "maybe."