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From the
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Every weekday at 11 AM, a member of the Post politics team answers your questions about politics and the race for the White House. Here are a few excerpts from today's chat with Dan Balz.

Bethesda, Md.: Roughly when does Bloomberg need to declare candidacy to have a shot as an Independent? Around the super-primaries to allow enough time to get on the ballot in all/most states ... or is mid-summer (by the time everyone is fed up with the all-but-official nominees) enough time?

Dan Balz: If he gets in, we'll have a good idea by early spring. I believe there is a Texas ballot issue that needs to be addressed by mid-spring. He will probably make a real decision right after it's clear how the primaries have turned out, and many expect that to be sometime after the Feb. 5 megaprimary day. I don't think he can or will wait until next summer.

Los Angeles, Calif.:

While Gingrich predicts (perhaps prefers is more accurate) Clinton-Obama, wouldn't a far better Democrat ticket be Hillary Clinton for president and Bill Richardson for vice president? First, adding Obama to the ticket wouldn't increase Black votes (Hillary does quite well among Black voters herself). Adding Richardson likely would significantly increase Hispanic votes for Democrats and set-back Republican efforts to attract this demographic. Second, while White voters say in surveys they can accept Obama, a big question is will they do so on Election Day (recall there never was a Governor Tom Bradley although polls predicted he'd win). Finally, given the current issues (i.e., Iraq, Immigration, Competence, Constitutional Imperative, Justice Department Interference, economic fairness and Foreign Policy) and the reluctance of Republican candidates to break from Bush's policies, wouldn't a Clinton-Richardson ticket be more exciting, more strategic and better experienced with the issues than the current cast of potential Republicans?

Dan Balz: Parsing vice presidential possibilities is fun at this stage but until the nomination battle plays out, we all do it without enough real information. So much of this is the comfort level between presidential nominee and potential VP nominee. So much also depends on how the presidential nominee sees himself or herself and what message they want to send with their choice. Bill Clinton's decision to pick Al Gore sent a powerful message of generational change, even though in picking a fellow southerner, Clinton violated traditional norms of finding a running mate who provided geographical or ideological balance. Walter Mondale ended up picking Geraldine Ferraro because he found her personal story intriguing and powerful and wanted to send a message that way -- not just because she was a woman (he had actually been leaning toward Dianne Feinstein) but because of what else she symbolized.

As for Clinton-Obama or Clinton-Richardson, I doubt she would pick Obama for purposes of winning African Americans. His appeal would be the card he's carrying through the nomination battle: freshness, new direction, etc. Richardson would no doubt stimulate Latino interest in the campaign and as a governor would bring some balance to her Senate credentials. Maybe she won't even be the nominee -- Newt Gingrich not withstanding.

By Post Editor  |  July 30, 2007; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Trail Chat  
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Putting Obama would make sense not because of the African American vote but because he would attract the younger generations while sending a very inspirational message to the world at large, i.e., that it's possible for a woman and an African-American can get nominated for the highest offices in the land. And if elected, Americans would have eight years to get used to the idea of an African American president -- and by then, Obama will be ready.

A Clinton-Obama ticket would mean a gradual rather than a radical change, which human nature can more easily embrace.

Posted by: mnickelsen | July 30, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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