VP Speculation Heats Up

Vice Presidential frontrunners Joe Biden and Mitt RomneyAll indications are that Barack Obama has made his choice for running mate and will announce it today. Through some combination of clever public manipulation to throw people off the scent and wishful thinking on the part of those with a stake in the outcome, the guesses as to who it’ll be are all over the map.

Obama’s stated criteria:

“I want somebody who’s independent, somebody who can push against my preconceived notions and challenge me so we have got a robust debate in the White House.”

This prompted one wag to guess that Dick Cheney has been tabbed.

John Amato thinks Obama’s slide in the polls will cause him to rethink things and land on the obvious choice, Hillary Clinton.   Mark Halperin examines the Hillary speculation and finds the evidence that she’s being seriously considered rather thin.

For his part, David Brooks hopes it’s Joe Biden because he’s a serious, decent guy who’d give Obama what he needs:  working-class roots, honest, loyalty, and experience.

Matt Yglesias guesses it’s Kathleen Sebelius.

Meanwhile, “several advisers close to his campaign” are telling Elisabeth Bumiler that John McCain has ended his flirtation with the likes of Tom Ridge and Joe Lieberman and will almost certainly go with an abortion opponent, probably either Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty. These same sources, though, say “it was not beyond the realm of possibility” that McCain will go with “a wild-card choice,” General David Petraueus.  Then again, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that aliens from another galaxy will land on the White House lawn this morning.

Mark Halperin has “two sources” saying it’s “apparently” Romney but that “no offer has been made.”  If so, Sean at FiveThirtyEight says that it would be a choice of “Demographics Over Narrative,” going with a guy who could help in Colorado and Michigan while hurting the ticket on the “regular guy” front since Romney owns a lot of homes, too.  John Cole thinks the Romney choice would explain “why they are now completely freaking out over the first real punch Obama has thrown at them [i.e. the attack on McCain’s “seven houses” -ed. ] despite their having been running attack ads for months.”

The guys at Electoral-vote.com weigh in on the concept of “fusion tickets” — picking a running mate of the other party, as would be the case if Obama picked Chuck Hegel or McCain picked Lieberman — noting that they’ve been losers historically.

UPDATE: Politico‘s Mike Allen reports, in a piece titled “Hillary gets stiffed,” that Clinton wasn’t even considered.

“She was never vetted,” a Democratic official reported. “She was not asked for a single piece of paper. She and Senator Obama have never had a single conversation about it. How would he know if she’d take it?”

The official also said Clinton never met with Obama’s vetting team of Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy. And the official said she was never asked for medical records or for any financial 2008 information about her or former President Bill Clinton. The last information the couple has disclosed about taxes and financial holdings was for 2007.  The Clintons also were not asked about donors to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.   “This would be the biggest leap of faith ever,” the official said. “She’s waiting for the text message like everyone else.”

An Obama aide said “absolutely exhaustive research was done on her over the course of the 16 month primary. She was researched more closely than any candidate in history.”

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine that there are embarrassing secret revelations of the Clintons that we’re not already privy to.  Certainly, none would be more embarrassing than the ones we already know.

Meanwhile, Obama is apparently calling all those people who he vetted and didn’t select.  So far, Congressman Chet Edwards, of whom I’d never previously heard, has not received a call.  In the spirit of full disclosure, neither have I.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Neither Romney nor Pawlenty bring much to the ticket. Romney would dampen the already limited enthusiasm of “social conservatives” and Pawlenty hasn’t even been able to get elected to the governorship of Minnesota by a majority.

    Back during Bush 41’s first presidential campaign I remember it being said that nowadays VP picks are more aspirational than operational.

  2. Jim Henley says:

    I still want the GOP to throw their convention open and nominate James. He’s the only Republican I would consider supporting.

  3. Michael says:

    I still want the GOP to throw their convention open and nominate James. He’s the only Republican I would consider supporting.

    But alas, McCain doesn’t read blogs (or anything else on the internet), so that ain’t going to happen. Now do you realize why his techo-illiteracy is a big deal James? It just cost you the Vice Presidency.

  4. […] at Outside the Beltway, my colleague James Joyner has the rundown on the VP fever that’s sweeping the speculative pundit class. All indications are that Barack […]

  5. Jim Henley says:

    I didn’t mean Vice President . . .

  6. sam says:

    …will almost certainly go with an abortion opponent, probably either Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty.

    This exercise is left to the reader: google “romney on abortion” and find out one of the reasons he’s called “Multiple-Choice Mitt”. And then there’s this:

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Arizona Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign issued a stinging attack on GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney’s stance on abortion Wednesday.

    McCain’s camp claimed a new YouTube video indicates the former Massachusetts governor supported maintaining abortion rights in his state six months after he opposed such rights.

    Romney has said he started opposing abortion rights in November 2004 while he was governor of Massachusetts after a conversation with a stem-cell researcher made him feel the value of human life had been diminished.

    But in a new video the McCain campaign posted to the popular video sharing site YouTube, Romney says in a May 2005 press conference, “I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice and so far I’ve been able to successfully do that. And my personal philosophical views about this issue is not something that I think would do anything other than distract from what I think is a more critical agenda.”

    Let the finessing begin!

  7. Michael says:

    I didn’t mean Vice President . . .

    A declared atheist for POTUS? We’re not stuck in the year 1800 anymore you know.

  8. Jim Henley says:

    Well, if “Paris is worth a mass,” surely James would be willing to handle a few snakes to get hold of the whole world.

  9. James Joyner says:

    I still want the GOP to throw their convention open and nominate James. He’s the only Republican I would consider supporting.

    Heh. Thanks. I do meet all the eligibility requirements and have military and foreign policy experience!

    To quote Joe Biden, though, I’m not the guy. Aside from the fact that nobody has ever heard of me, though, I’d alienate the social conservatives and be a lousy attack dog.

  10. Michael says:

    Aside from the fact that nobody has ever heard of me, though, I’d alienate the social conservatives and be a lousy attack dog.

    You can also be swayed by facts and logic, which I think makes you a flip-flopper and not a decider.

  11. Michael says:

    Of course, there’s always 2012, has anybody registered http://www.draftjoyner.com yet?

  12. Alex Knapp says:

    Wait a minute–Obama said that:

    “I want somebody who’s independent, somebody who can push against my preconceived notions and challenge me so we have got a robust debate in the White House.”

    Since when did you switch your party affiliation to Democrat, James?

  13. Derrick says:

    John Cole thinks the Romney choice would explain “why they are now completely freaking out over the first real punch Obama has thrown at them [i.e. the attack on McCain’s “seven houses” -ed. ] despite their having been running attack ads for months.”

    Cole’s post does make perfect sense. If the pick is Mitt and there is already attacks on being “out-of-touch”, then McCain’s people would be absolutely terrified. Mitt makes John Kerry look like a man of the people. The media narrative would be merciless.

  14. James Joyner says:

    I see the discussion thread took off as I was composing my answer. Alas, if the base isn’t happy with McCain, I suspect I’m not going to be considered an improvement.

    Plus, I barely have time to blog these days as it is. How am I going to manage while running for president?

  15. sam says:

    Heh

    To quote Joe Biden, though, I’m not the guy. Aside from the fact that nobody has ever heard of me

    James Tecumseh Joyner:

    If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not…what the hell???

  16. Michael says:

    Plus, I barely have time to blog these days as it is. How am I going to manage while running for president?

    Just do what you do now, and let Steve, Dave and Alex handle a lot of the daily Presidential-ly stuff, so that you can focus on big, well written and thoughtful policies. Also, I think Rodney should be your Press Secretary.

  17. markm says:

    While i hope campO picks Biden…they aint that dumb.

    I also hope campM doesn’t pick Mitt. I thought there was a true dislike between the two…the kind you can’t just check at the door. He would bring some loose economic pluses to the McCain side…though he’s got just enough of a track record in other aspects it’d be a net loss. And Mitt CAN’T bring Michigan (outide the box…John Engler maybe could). Bad pick.

  18. Snoop Diggity-DANG-Dawg says:

    As it becomes increasingly clear that Obama will select a male VP, (because the only woman he could possibly choose is Hillary, and he’s not that dumb), it opens a HUGE window for McCain to choose a woman for his VP. A 71 year-old president with a female VP will have very big appeal to Hillary constituents. If he chooses another white guy VP, he’ll just invite the “they’re just a bunch of white guys” moniker.

  19. John425 says:

    would Obama go for Feinstein of California? Female & Jewish.

  20. Dave Schuler says:

    would Obama go for Feinstein of California? Female & Jewish.

    I like Dianne Feinstein but I think she has too much of the sort of baggage that Sen. Obama really doesn’t want.

  21. Anthony says:

    “it opens a HUGE window for McCain to choose a woman for his VP.”

    If there was any sense in this world he’d go for Olympia Snowe. But she’s pro-choice and seems unable to muster up much enthusiasm when it comes to deploring The Homo-sex, so I assume that if he picked her we’d all start marrying farm animals and then the world would implode. Or something.

  22. markm says: