Obama's running mate hunt. Jarrett already looking into transition to White House.

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WASHINGTON -- There's no short list. At this very early stage, only a very long list of potential running mates for Sen. Barack Obama, the likely Democratic nominee.

The closely held project for picking a vice president for Obama will be a separate "silo," an organization outside the Obama campaign headquarters on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

As I reported in the May 8 Sun-Times, the Obama team has been exploring for weeks the process to be used for selecting a running mate. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times has learned that Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett is already teed up to be highly involved in transition planning -- to be ready if Obama is sworn in as president next January.

On Thursday, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder disclosed that James A. Johnson will be a central figure on the Obama vetting team, reprising a role he played in 2004 for Sen. John Kerry and in 1984 for Vice President Walter Mondale, when they were the Democratic presidential nominees.

Johnson is putting together a task force, mostly lawyers, to do public records vetting at this initial stage for a very long list of potential partners, said a source familiar with the operation who did not want to be named.

Obama is looking for, in broad strokes, someone with complimentary expertise, who could be a successor, who he has good chemistry with and, in the political equation, would possibly help -- but certainly not hurt -- win electoral votes.

Johnson is the former CEO of Fannie Mae and former chairman of the Kennedy Center Board who with his wife, Maxine Isaacs -- a former Mondale spokesman -- were early supporters of Obama who became major fund-raisers for him.

While Obama is running an anti-Washington campaign, in turning to Johnson, Obama is asking for help from an insider's insider. Clearly, there is no reason to reject advice or guidance from Johnson, whose institutional knowledge is invaluable; rather it shows that Obama's rhetoric may not foreshadow how he would actually govern.

In picking a running mate, Obama "ought to be looking for someone who shares his values," someone "simpatico," said Abner Mikva, the former Bill Clinton White House counsel and congressman from Illinois and longtime Obama mentor.

The cable shows are buzzing each night over whether Obama should tap Sen. Hillary Clinton to be his running mate, even as she struggles to keep her own campaign alive.

"Not a good idea," said Mikva. "They have carved out their different positions. It would look like a political deal, contrary to what Barack has been talking about when he talks about change."

The first step for the Obama vice presidential task force will be to assemble a list of potential contenders. Sen. Dick Durbin should be on the long list, but he's aced out this time because he is from Illinois too. Here are the pluses and minuses for some of the obvious names:

HILLARY CLINTON brings in supporters who delivered victories for her in key swing states; a female vote and instant Democratic "dream ticket" unity. Yet it will be hard for Obama to have a campaign for change with her as a partner. They have no chemistry. Obama would have to figure Bill Clinton would be part of the picture.

VIRGINIA GOV. TIM KAINE may bring in a Southern state, was one of Obama's earliest backers and Obama seems to enjoy being with him.

Obama, who has no military background, is looking for Republicans and independent votes. SEN. JIM WEBB, a freshman senator from Virginia, is a former Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, a former Marine, speaks Vietnamese and comes from the South.

Several figures who backed Clinton from key swing states could fill the governing hole in Obama's resume and build a bridge to the Clinton supporters. They are Iowa Gov. TOM VILSACK, Ohio Gov. TED STRICKLAND and Indiana Sen. EVAN BAYH, a former governor.

As part of the hunt for those GOP and independent voters, Obama could look at Sen. CHUCK HAGEL (R-Neb.) and New York Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, now an independent.

This tier includes former Democratic rivals:

NEW MEXICO GOV. BILL RICHARDSON dropped his presidential bid after failing to get much traction; still, he would help Obama with his Hispanic deficit and as former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary has an impressive resume.

Former Sen. JOHN EDWARDS, Kerry's 2004 running mate. Could help Obama with his problem, in these latest contests, of winning white middle class votes. But Edwards did not put Kerry over the line.

SEN. CHRIS DODD and SEN. JOE BIDEN ran very respectable, if unsuccessful, campaigns. They bring in enormous foreign policy experience.

Former Sen. TOM DASCHLE is sort of a godfather to the Obama campaign; however, his wife, Linda is a Washington lobbyist. He would be a better fit as a Cabinet member or chief of staff.

Former Rep. TIM ROEMER of Indiana, a former member of the 9/11 Commission.

Former Sen. SAM NUNN of Georgia brings in foreign policy experience and could balance out Obama's liberal record. But he's been off the scene for a long time.

Pro-Obama governors from swing states: Kansas Gov. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS and Arizona Gov. JANET NAPOLITANO. But if Obama passes over Clinton, it would backfire to put these lesser qualified women on the ticket.


Does Jarrett only creep me out?
She's the sole witness to the meeting of Michelle Robinson and Barry Soleto.

This couple is like a lemon car you can't sell back.
He sells out on nukes, coal, the war, the farm bill, health care.
John Edwards has bet on the wrong horse.
The HUBRIS of this guy's corrupt campaign to float this 'who's gonna be my veep' story line when he refuses to debate Hillary.
It's going down to Denver, baby.
Obama might be a good veep.
If Hillary can get him to promise to stop selling out to big money.

Maybe Hillary would consider Obama as Vice-President, but I doubt it. Dewey comes to mind. There's a long time between June 3 and the Dem. Convention in August 24-26, and much more is to be learned about The Crowned One. The Super D's have not cast ballots and can not count their votes until the Convention.

Is there no one paying attention to the Rezko trial from the campaign trail?
- - - - -

Would people think that Obama will pick another naïve and inexperience candidate like himself? Most likely, he will pick a candidate with experience. Experience, by definition, means that this person has had to be part of the Washington’s crowd for some time. So, why is this ok for the party instead of Clinton?
If Obama picks another Washington politician instead of Clinton then it clearly demonstrates that he only wants to surround himself with less qualified people than Clinton; if he has more confidence in himself then he should pick the obvious candidate whom half of the democrats has voted soundly for as the best qualified presidential candidate.
If Obama is as smart as he claims then he should run, not walk, to Clinton and make his offer on his knees. Without Clinton, he has no chance to win.

It's going down to Denver, baby? Are you kidding me? Anyone that thinks the party is going to steal this from the man leading in popular votes, delegates and superdelegates must be completely crazy. Rezko? Who cares about Rezko when Hillary has Vince Fosters "Suicide" (yeah right, Whitewater, Monice Lewinsky, and a hundred other skeletons in her closet. If she thinks she's going to be VP after the campaign she ran, she's crazy.

Obama has plenty of experience. He hasn't been in the senate long, but he has more political experience than Hillary Clinton when you include his time in the Illinois state senate. He's been in the senate plenty long enough to understand how it works. He's not running for senator. He's running for president. This notion of someone needing "experience" is a myth. No one has experience at being president unless you are an incumbent. We have none of those running. If you're looking for experience with lobbyists, then certainly his opponents have more of that than he does. I happen to think that's a good thing. He's intelligent, open-minded, and uses sound judgement. Of all 3 remaining candidates, no one has organized their campaign better, fundraised better. To me, this is the best indicator of how he would run the country. People who don't see this, simply don't want to because they have already decided, for whatever reason, that he is not their candidate. But the inexperience argument has no merit.

Good go to Denver and fight for it. Show your true colors Hillary supporters, winning at all costs. And then blow up the democratic party, ruin the general, help elect mccain and continue 4 more years of failed policies.

Its too bad HRC didnt recklessly blow through her fat bank account when this primary started, or banked on a ten state strategy, or listened to Mark Penn and poll test every answer. Its too bad she agreed that Michigan and Florida should be punished until it was politically expedient to push for them to be redeemed. Its too bad HRC couldnt close the deal as the presumptive nominee, biggest brand name in democratic politics. Its too bad!!! Get over it. Move on and support Obama.

"But if Obama passes over Clinton, it would backfire to put these lesser qualified women on the ticket"

I understand that the argument will be made, but really. Lesser qualified? They're both successful Democratic executives of red-ish states. Clinton is early in her second term as Senator.

While Clinton has been on the scene a much longer time. It's hard to see her as much more qualified.

John Edwards - Outsider, Brings White Rural, Change partner, less volatile than Hillary.
The only negative is he might not fit the prototypical white rural boomer or southerner.

I can relate to Hillary, I too am angry. Man I saw her almost pop when she is disturbed by questions she doesn't like. Large character flaw if ya wanna work in that capacity.

There is nothing there "there" with Rezko. This has already been reported by Sun Times and the conservative Chicago Tribune. Don't you think the Clintons would be all over it if there was anything? Duh??

Why does Valerie Jarrett creep you out? She seems like a very nice lady and who is Barry Soleto? Are all you people on here Hillary supporters or from the wing-nuts?

That's smart...let's ad a person to the Obama ticket that has some of the highest negatives in the political arena. What is she going to bring to the table? Her kitchen sink policy?
I am sick of these bad democrats. If we lose with Obama at the top of the ticket, so be it. At least we will have lost standing up for what we believe in and not these bad democrats like HRC. She voted for this war and is responsible for the the consequences therein.

HRC is the John Kerry of 2008. Nominate her and we lose again.

Sebelius and Napolitano are both governors who have been involved in politics for more than a decade. Clinton is a politicians wife who has been an elected official for 8 years. On what basis is she more qualified then Sebelius or Napolitano or Laura Bush for that matter?

I like the idea of Tim Kaine and Bill Richardson as VP. I don't care for Clinton, but I could stomach her as VP. I think many Obama supporters would go away if she comes on board though. I don't think Clinton really brings anything to the table. Richardson and Kaine do have their pluses, but no military experience? I personally don't think being in the military has anything to do with anything. But others seem to. Bill Clinton and Al Gore, I don't think they had anything military on their records and they beat Bush, so what do ya think?

I like Kaine, because that ticket looks like it could really take off!!!!!! Two young, vibrant men, with a fresh new outlook, coming to the world stage with their peers (other leaders in their generation around the world). They seem to like each other, too. So, it's like a real friendship. I think Kaine's fluent in Spanish.

Yo Matt--I ain't yer baby nor yer sweetie dude.
Must be the first campaign for a lot of folks here--so let's review things and offer some reality.
Campaign? We'll talk bout dat in a minute.
Kat1Park--got the Obama HQ talkin' point text message--Experience selling OUT is what he's got.
But first---the CAMPAIGN HILLARY ran was above board.
Not so the O's-.
When you have to start out by bashing Hillary and TRIGGERING ALL THE misogyny AND CLASSISM that this campaign's seen:
1. (Michelle's House/White House comment about Bill's zipper (what's been goin' on with Obama's Zipper, by the way?)
2. Calling Hillary, Geraldine Ferraro and then BILL CLINTON racist for stating FACTS:
(a. LBJ DID sign the civil rights bill;
b. Obama AND FERRARO are and were where they are because of
identity politics (more on this later*)
c. Jesse Jackson's campaign DID have a similar feel to the
neophyte Obama's campaign
3. LOSING a debate to Hillary when the news media FINALLY confronts him on questions he dodged before by
a. ducking into a speeding SUV and avoiding Carol Marin's
questions about the REZKO MANSION
b. "Hey guys I just answered 8 questions!" when the Chicago
media met him in Texas and questioned him about Rezko.
AND THEN FLIPPING OFF Hillary (and then GE's MSNBC re-edited it (potting down audio alluding to Hillary and reverting video order) to make it look like he didn't--was this because of the 29 new nukes the DICK Cheney 2005 energy bill contains for GE?)
a. Michelle refused to answer questions about HER relationship with Rev. Wright, finally after Susan Malveaux changed the subject, the snickered after TFPC BASHED THIS WSORKING WOMAN. AND THEN
b. Michelle (still in tight pink top spilling cleavage) did the same thing to Meredith Viera! MEREDITH used to WORK for 60 minutes. Michelle was RUDE to her--so Barry intervened, got her to talk in cooing tones curled up like the letter C on barry's shoulder about how she protected her man. YUCK!
Now kat1park---SELLING OUT is the ONLY experience he's got cuz he supported
1. 2005 cheney energy bill already discussed but
3. Bio fuels--net LOSS of energy similar to nukes--also causes food shortages (SO HE'S NOT SUCH A WIZ ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, AFTERALL , RIGHT?)
4. 'clean' coal--dug out without unions of any strength
and he does NOT support
1. handgun control0-voted' present' in state legislasture---how's that working out right now south side
2. public housing--that 140 million dolalrs worth or decrepit housing on the south side courtesy of his friend REZKO is a WAAAAAAYYYYYYY bigger deal than any of the
(vince foster b.s. rumors, ken starr/monicab.s. who cares white water b.s.) CRAP they TRIED flinging at the Clintons.
The Clintons rose to the oligarchy without getting in trouble.
What I dislike is how DIRTY they're willing to fight to beat out the person who SHOULD NOW BE THE TOP OF THE TICKET.
And the Obamas do NOT know how to handle the news media. They don't know how to answer questions under fire. The 'sweetie' comment was so galling not because of the sexism, but because of the arrogance to the news media.

What happened to former General Wesley Clark? I'm not saying he's the guy, but he does offer significant strength in an area of concern for Obama.

Gen. Tony Zinni will likely be Obama's VP.


DONATE: hillaryclinton.com

Obama's Favorable Rating Drops!!!!

FOX News Poll: Nearly half of Democrats (48 percent) think Hillary Clinton has a better chance of beating McCain in November — 10 percentage points higher than the 38 percent who think Barack Obama can win

FOX News Poll: Wright Ties Hurt Obama Campaign
a majority of Americans (52 percent) says they care about the relationship between Obama and Wright, a look below the surface shows this issue is STILL influencing the presidential race.

In Kentucky, 8 in 10 Clinton voters... say they'd be Dissatisfied if Obama were the nominee; about 60% of Clinton voters in Oregon said the same. MORE Clinton voters in KY say they'd support John McCain than support Barack Obama. Obama lost West Virginia by more than 40 points, an enormous fall, voters who went against Obama — white, rural, older, low-income and without college degrees — don't just live in West Virginia. They live everywhere in the country, in places Obama needs to win in a general election. Lost in all the talk of the inevitability of Barack Obama's nomination is the fact that Hillary Clinton has a very compelling case of her own. The contorted Democratic primary significantly differs from an actual presidential election. Caucuses, which is proportionately favor young, vocal enthusiasts who are willing to stay up late in the night; superdelegates; unelected party officials who are free to ignore the
will of the people and proportional representation of delegates are all electoral processes that have no parallel in November.

If the Democratic primary were a winner-take-all contest based on electoral votes like the general election, Clinton would lead Obama 290-214. The fact that Obama has won the majority of states, most of which are small, or has a slight lead in the popular vote does not mitigate the fact that Clinton is by a large margin the more competitive candidate in a national election

It is a fact that no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia, Obama lost West Virginia by more than 40 points, an enormous fall, voters who went against Obama — white, rural, older, low-income and without college degrees — don't just live in West Virginia. They live everywhere in the country, in places Obama needs to win in a general election. In anticipation of the West Virginia primary, college students for Obama were hurling insults at farmers and truck drivers. Now we hear pained remarks from the Obama camp that many white men won't vote for any black. Oh really? No one was complaining during the early races in Iowa, Maryland, Virginia and Wisconsin, when most of the white male participants backed Obama. That was before the Rev. Jeremiah Wright ugliness became public. Obama's inability to persuade working-class white voters to back him points to serious problem for him in the presidential election. A large percentage of voters who backed Mrs Clinton said they would not vote for Obama in the presidential race if he becomes the nominee. Disrespecting the nearly 17 million who have supported Clinton is politically unwise, but turning them into "the enemy" is insane


Surely proved if Obama would become Democratic nominee he will certainly lose the general election: Obama's camp philosophy of his cadre amount to one big put-down of America. President represents something very personal to Americans who proved they are not in the habit of electing candidates who hold their country in contempt. Not only have the comments of Obama's wife, Michelle who referred to America as "downright mean" and stated that she was not proud of her country until her husband started winning primaries and his minister, Jeremiah Wright (whose hateful, anti-white, anti-American diatribes are available for sale in Obama's church, or for free on YouTube) revealed the tired, leftist scorn for America that Obama represents and condones.

Anyone but Hillary! She is toxic and Obama will not last long in the world with her behind him. Hillary, as with the Bosnia sniper fire delusion, suffers from a fantasy that she is the front-runner, and with her forever shifting goalposts, her new lunatic math and kitchen-sink-sewer, failed and bankrupt campaign, wants Obama to give her MORE TIME as some evil and psychotic person can clear the road to the WH for her . I am a feminist older than Mrs. Clinton and as an American patriot, I need to do the right thing and tell Mrs. Clinton and sex-addicted impeached Bill, get out already! The Clinton dynasty has been spoiling not just Obama's race in November but also the entire Democratic Party and its representatives'-- congressmen, governors, district officers, mayors, etc, etc--ability to win in future elections. Bill is fighting Obama to return to the WH for a third term, and Obama has been fighting not just two Clintons (both playing every dirty card in politics) but also the GOP and the mainstream media who want to see the contest continue and their high ratings maintained. To claim Senator Obama is not electable because he is black is to say that only white Americans, like Bill and Hillary, can become President, as they have for over 200 years. No Native, Hispanic, or Asian American need apply as well just in case they'll end up like Robert Kennedy as well. Is this what we want for our republic? Senator Obama MUST denounce and reject Hillary's shameless agenda. He MUST stop treating Hillary as an older white woman like his mother and therefore to be respected, and show her for the corrupt (25 million dollars gained from influence peddling last year alone), lying (Bosnia sniper fire), bullying (Judas name-calling), ruthless (just look at her ads), unelectable (highest negatives ever in a presidential candidate, and negatives increasing every day) small human that she is. The Party Elders Must remove Hillary, the basest fear-mongering, saber-rattling candidate ever, before something really really bad happens with all the hate-inciting she and Bill have been doing.


Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for Obama's VP
- agrees with him on illegal immigration and most importantly the war
- can criticize the current administration and make the Bush-McCain link better than the possible Dem choices
- gives the appearance of unity with not just Democrats but Independents and Republicans
- Hagel has experience in international affairs, military, economy, and pure life (age) that Obama lacks
- his differences on domestic policy would only feed the strength of Obama being able to compromise with those who share a different opinion
- not a dream ticket, but rather a real ticket, one provided to a country who desperately needs to merge rather than diverge

Obama clinches the Democratic nomination. Now it is time for him to face off with McCain, and I believe his race is harder than what it was back in Dec 07, before the primaries began. There is alot more information (Jeremiah Wright) floating around than before. The racial remarks made by his former pastor, the voters that would not vote for him b/c of his race, and the voters who did not believe he had enough experience will hurt him in the general elections. I believe had the information, regarding his attendance at his former church, been available prior to the first primary then Obama would have not had the support he had from several states. In order to correct the issues that have arisen, Obama will need to choose a VP that can bring the voters back!(the voters who wish they could change their primary vote)He will need a VP with experience, the ability to when voters that are uncomfortable voting for a black man, and someone who can sway undecided moderates to vote Democrat. I have read alot of online news blogs, listened to talk radio, and peeled through all of the news channels available on the TV. I have heard all of the arguments why not to make Hillary the VP. I would like to argue the assumption that Obama will not represent change by joining with the Clintons. I believe Hillary has made the point that this was HER campaign and not BILL'S! Change is represented by the fact that she is a woman and may provide a new outlook to the Nation's social problems.She has proven her strength and ability to function on her own merit. Clinton would also provide Obama with the experience that he needs against McCain. Last but not least, it is unknown if Obama can sway Clinton supporters to vote for him and not McCain. Without those voters the Democrats will not gain the White House in November. Bottom line he can use Clinton on his side!

I think the logical two for Obama are either jim webb or tim kaine as VP. Both would offer a contrast and gain votes in the southern states. Hilary would be political suicide and add a great amount of fodder for McCain to feed on. She has a great deal of baggage and would cloud his message of CHANGE. Some humorist have written if Obama chooses Hilary that he better hire a food taster so as to not get poisoned. While this sentiment is harsh it does shed light on what a great deal of the nation thinks of Hilary. The final weeks have really served Obama well and Hilary has shown her fortitude but unfortunately for her, she did not run a good campaign for the long haul. She was outmatched and had planned only for a short knock out punch campaign. The nation has gotten a glimpse of her character in defeat and that is not something Obama should have any part of if he wants to win in November.

I think hilary is the best running mate any man can ask for. She's got passion for what she believes in and will pull together the divided democrats. Obama don't lose the election, win with hilary

From the vantage of seeing the woods but not the trees, it seems Obama will choose Hillary, because she's dredfully ambitious and a die hard. She'll also be remembered for being a great woman. How's her luck to come up against Barack? If he wants to knock McCain from the outset, which he will, then Clinton is sure to give him 8 years - which makes her 68 - not too old to give it a shot again - he's the president already, and we all hope McCain is honoured for his duty to his country by Barack - McCain's just not smart enough. Besides, like in the Zimbabwean instance, veterans only know one language. They don't have a clue about politics and the economy, they just chant. They ofcourse have a place in the world. I'm a vet. But come one man, let it go. If Hillary becomes VP, she must give herself to the nation - which she just did tonight (Central African Time 21h00, 07-06-08, Stellenbosh). The real challenge is to find the place of the USA in the post-dollar era with a very powerful but recently rampaged China and an ever stronger France, Germany and pound. Is Russia with China? This I think for sure, the world has change it's balance after 9/11, or was it after Mikael Gorbachov? Foreign affairs, commerce and currency is not the opposite to self-interest - look at the fuel price - war makes enemies and costs too much, even if you feel you had to do it. Barack knows, but alas - even if he brings the dollar back a bit and asks nicely if OPEC could go easy please, he can only govern for 8 years at the most, and then who knows what the mood of the people would be? Barack, I don't know if you've ever been to South Africa, or if you've asked Nelson Mandela advice - but we invite you to come and see him, he's 90 one of these days and he is sure to tell you something you need to know. The media sure is loving this year, and not even National Geographic Channel gets remotely close to being anything as exciting as global weather and politics at the moment.

Personally, I would rather Hillary not be the Vice President. I wish someone would air an interview or 2 in which her an Bill both voiced their support for George W.

I think she would only hinder Obama, being that a person's race may determine where someone may end up in life as far as career etc. I've heard middle class white people (and I'm white myself, btw) state that they don't want Obama as their president because he is inexperienced. But knowing these people who made said statements on a very personal level, the real issue is his race. If they can't except a black president, they sure won't except a female VP, and both on the same ticket will get people who never vote to vote Rep just to vote against the pair.

Now, I've heard a positive of having Hillary as a running mate, but have to research that a bit more before I change my mind. I still don't like her.

The best bet would have a white male to buffer the "race" issue.

It's sad that registered voters are only worried about the color of the President's skin rather than looking at how much Bush and the Rep. took from us......e.g. the patriot act is one of the worst.....

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 23, 2008 8:36 AM.

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