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The '08 Veep Tour Begins

Updated 6:15 p.m.
By Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane
Sen. Barack Obama's vice-presidential search team spent another day on Capitol Hill -- and left the impression that the field is wide open.

After Sen. Kent Conrad met with James A. Johnson and Eric Holder, the North Dakota Democrat told reporters that Obama was considering current lawmakers, former lawmakers, and former military officials. One name in heavy circulation is Ret. Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones. Conrad said he discussed specific names with the two Obama emissaries, but he would not confirm any of them.

Conrad said his preference is a pick with governing gravitas, "somebody that is seen as helping to govern, someone that is instantly credible. It's the stature of the person."

Jones has plenty of stature, but he is not well known beyond elite Washington and foreign policy circles, nor does he have any political experience -- always useful during a general-election campaign. A Jones-like pick would be an out of the box one -- but then, so is Obama's candidacy.

Some allies of the presumptive nominee worry that going the Jones route would prove too unconventional, and they are urging Obama, either through Johnson and Holder or through other channels, to select a more traditional running mate, like a popular senator or governor. Several Obama sources believe the candidate has already settled on a handful of favorites -- and possibly even one -- and is using the vetting process to see how these individuals stack up against others.

Another possible hitch with Jones is that he is, by some accounts, a longtime friend of McCain's. The two worked together during their early days in Washington; Jones served as the Marine Corps liaison officer to the U.S. Senate while McCain had the same job for the Navy, according to published reports. And Jones's son, James Jones III, is the President and CEO of Dynology Corporation, an internet firm that served as an early vendor to McCain's campaign. McCain's campaign paid Dynology more than $230,000 between March and October 2007.

Most people who know Obama also believe he will select a running mate with whom he has a strong personal connection, rather than someone from the right state or with a certain type of resume.

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Obama's first supporter in the Senate (Conrad was the second), said his 40-minute meeting with Johnson and Holder included a review of "many, many names." Durbin told reporters, "Some of them would surprise you, some of them wouldn't."

One person in the mix, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a former Clinton supporter, removed himself from circulation today, asserting in a National Public Radio interview, "If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve. So, I don't know how more crystal clear I can be."

The list of contenders is believed to include Sens. Joseph Biden (Del.), Christopher Dodd (Conn.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), John Kerry (Mass.), and Jim Webb (Va.); former rivals (and current N.Y. Sen.) Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards; former Sens. Tom Daschle (S.D.) and Sam Nunn (Ga.); Govs. Kathleen Sebelius (Kan.) and Tim Kaine (Va.); and Senate candidate and former Gov. Mark Warner (Va.).

One interesting group includes lawmakers who have not met with Johnson and Holder. The line-up includes Biden and Dodd, veteran senators who would presumably be well acquainted with everyone under consideration, including Jones. Nor has Sen. Bob Casey's phone been ringing. The Pennsylvania freshman campaigned hard for Obama before his state's primary, although he knew Clinton was likely to win. Casey and Obama have become friends, and Pennsylvania is, of course, a key general-election battleground.

Webb and Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), another close Obama ally, refused to confirm whether they had been contacted by the two emissaries, although some meetings are scheduled later, including a session with Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.).

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 10, 2008; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Posted by: Nancy Barness | June 24, 2008 4:33 AM | Report abuse

"No sitting US Senator has been elected president since Warren Harding in 1920"

JFK in 1960?

Posted by: Tertullian | June 13, 2008 4:40 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Condi Rice as VP.

Posted by: tncdel | June 12, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama ia a healer.
we need him badley to unite democrats ans republicans white and black, poor and rich. We are a splt nation right now, econmicaly and moraly. This mulato man is God send to make this nation a great one as it was before. LETS GIVE HIM TH OPORTUNITY TO FIX IT. Definetly I will vote for him.

Posted by: Whadzen Denton 06/11/08 | June 11, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

No sitting US Senator has been elected president since Warren Harding in 1920. Why on EARTH are so many senators so high on the list?

Obama needs a running mate who will offset his lack of executive level experience -- a governor. Based on experience alone, the job (hell, the presidency itself) should be Bill Richardon's: The top two issues facing the nation right now are energy policy and foreign relations (more correctly, an appalling lack of either), so who better than a former Energy Secretary and UN Ambassador?

Posted by: GRF67 | June 11, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I inadvertently left Reed of RI off the list.

Posted by: Ron M | June 11, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The VP will be someone with military experience. If Obama is serious about exiting Iraq and I think he is he will need military advice. I read where he is going to use the VP as the final councilor before decisions are made, If that is the case then Webb, Jones and Nunn will be the final three. From them it would be who is the best fit with Obama.

Posted by: Ron M | June 11, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

It would be hard to beat Bill Richardson as a veep. He gives the Obama gravitas. He is a also less likely to create an embarassment for the candidate by off the cuff remarks as Webb or Biden would.

Also, he converts New Mexico from competitive state to a likely state for Obama

Plus he has the potential to be the Dick Cheney of an Obama Administration.

Whats's not to like?

Posted by: danielhancock | June 11, 2008 4:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama's task is to unite the Democratic Party. His choice for v.p. candidate MUST reflect that need.

Inescapably, he will turn politician and not outsider in the vetting process. Woe is us as partisanship emerges as the political melody. (It is paralyzing Congress presently and it will continue.)

I am not encouraged by our election process. Huge amounts of money are being expended in sound bites. Huge amounts of money are going to Iraq's reconstruction. The issues of veteran's medical care, education, oil-alternatives and financial health are overwhelmed.

Posted by: drmarty | June 11, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

I believe he should choose the whole cast and crew of MSNBC for VP, and let Matthews and Oberlmann alternate days sitting in VP chair, of course you could throw Eugene Robinson and Harold Ford in the mix even though they are just expert witnesses for MSNBC. If you all ever got out of Wahington you may find out what rest of USA thinks. Jim Cummings

Posted by: Jim Cummings | June 11, 2008 3:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm haven't been this confused since I missed an episode of Lost. I see a lot of names but only a couple outside the Northeast. It seems like Obama needs a big name to carry particular swing/ Red states in the West or South. It also seems like there's a lot of closed door talks on Capital Hill because the VP will need to bridge divides between Democrats in Congress. That would make the short list: Webb, Nunn, McCaskill or Richardson?

Posted by: Chris336 | June 11, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

I truly love the potential combination of Senators Obama and Bayh (IN). Bayh, while still younger (52), brings 4 yrs expereince as IN Sec of State, followed by 8 yrs executive experience as IN Governor, and 10 yrs Senate experience, serving on the intelligence and armed forces committees. He is fiscally conservative (has a long record of this) and appeals to many independents and moderate Republicans. Can help deliver IN for Obama - as a democrat elected to office for the last 20 years in a Red-leaning state. Is not so well known on the national scene - that he is inconsistent with the message of "change."

Lastly, Bayh was a Clinton supporter - and can help unite the Democratic party.

Bayh balances Obama in many ways.

Go Obama / Bayh !

Posted by: obama-bayh fan | June 11, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

I am just wondering what else this retired general knows how to do. VP is supposed to be able to be president too.

Posted by: Gaias Child | June 11, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

A retired General would be great. Richardson would be great. Sebelius, etc. would be great.

I am confident Obama will make an outstanding choice for VP.

Posted by: Kimo | June 11, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who is going to pick. Obama does not have the experience..

I'm wondering how his red states...caucuses strategy is going to work in the General Elections. He will loose Ohio, Florida and who knows maybe Pennsylvania...

Clinton 2012!

Posted by: Maria I | June 11, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who is going to pick. Obama does not have the experience..

I'm wondering how his red states...caucuses strategy is going to work in the General Elections. He will loose Ohio, Florida and who knows maybe Pennsylvania...

Clinton 2012!

Posted by: Maria I | June 11, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I feel like the smart money is on Joe Biden at this point. He's really intelligent and the media loves him. I know Fox yells at NBC and NBC yells at Fox, but if politician has likable qualities, the media will always treat that person better. The media has never been disinterested, as it ought to be. If it ever was, why did we go to war in Arabia? That's literally the dumbest idea I've ever heard. So let's relax. The media likes certain candidates more, we'll live. So Biden is a good bet. So is John Edwards, but I don't believe Obama will pick him. Chris Dodd is very smart, but always came across rather cranky. And Obama will handle Connecticut. Mentioning Chuck Schumer is interesting. Two weeks ago I'd have dismissed it, but if Obama wants to ensure he doesn't lose any footing on the Jewish vote, Chuck Schumer rocks. He's my senator. I live in NY. We are pretty smart up here. So it'd be great to have the New York politician whom the media ignored the past two years on the ticket. He is by far the smartest of the lot, but he might be too smart. Illinois and New York on the ticket might make the rest of the country cry. So, I still like Sam Nunn, or Jim Webb, although the latter makes me uneasy about the female vote. Tom Daschle looks like the nicest man on the planet. We need a little fire in the v.p. obama needs like, a Democratic-version of Spiro Agnew. A contemporary L.B.J., without the war mongering. A cross between L.B.J., Teddy Roosevelt, and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Henry Cabot Lodge. Which brings us right back to where we began: Joe Biden.

New York City Secession 2010

Posted by: | June 10, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Obama should pick Rev. Wright. I like his policies and he seems to have a good grasp in U.S. foreign policy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I want Sen. Bob Casey or Sen. Daschle. they're both perfect. I like Casey because he and Obama just seem to go together and they're friends. I just love Sen Daschle and he's very close to Obama. These two are trustworthy and either one seems so picture perfect for the ticket.

Posted by: Marie | June 10, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is an old racist hag.
How would it look to the rest of the world if we had a skirt in the White House.
Our biggest foreign policy concern is the middle east. The Middle East is the most conservative area in the world. We cannot have a woman negotiating with terrorists - THEY WON'T LISTEN TO HER. Hello, people use some common sense. I applaud Obama's willingness to meet with their leaders. There's no need to spread unnecessary blood and violence.

Posted by: Divante Jackson | June 10, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The only one who would add any votes to the ticket is Edwards.

Posted by: nazcalito | June 10, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA is the right choice to lead this great Republic...unless he picks Billary as his Veep. ThenI pack my bags and retire to New Zealand.

We do not need the Clinton's anywhere near the White House. The Senate floor is bad enough.

Posted by: Charles in Oak Hill | June 10, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who Obama picks, the Republicans are a broken party with nothing.

John McCain a man with no qualifications at all except for crashing a plane in the Vietnam War.
The man has not experienced any real adversity. He grew up in privileged white family. His dad was a famous admiral and had him admitted to the United States Naval Academy. He never had to work for anything in his life. He probably got special treatment at the naval academy too because he was the admiral's son.
This man takes his $300,000 tax-payer education and receives a commission. He then crashes a million dollar plane payed for again by the U.S. taxpayer. In the real world, if someone damages property, they pay for it. John McCain has yet to fork over a cent, and instead uses this experience to call himself a hero and run for political office. What a crock of bs.
This man is no hero. If being a hero means being locked up in a Communist prison, the detainees in Guantanamo and young black males should be the real leaders of America because they suffered 10x more than McCain ever did and are locked up everyday.

McCain is the past - an old white man who is out of touch with reality. Barack is the future of America. And why is military experience so highly regarded in our society. The people who sign up are among the lowest members of society. They sign up for free health care and the ridiculous bonuses the military is offering. While there's starving black kids in Africa and young black males trying to make it out on the streets we are subsidizing felons and those with a sub-standard IQ who are susceptible to brain-washing to murder innocents overseas. Whose the Evil Empire now?

Posted by: Gobama | June 10, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

My first pick was Bill Richardson for many reasons, then I read about his problems getting vetted. Not good, Bill!

I love Joe Biden and will hope for him at this point, but I remember reading about his desire to be Secretary of State, which would also be very good.

As long as the person's last name is not 'Clinton', I will know Obama did the full process and selected the person he wants as his running mate, which is what needs to happen, whomever it turns out to be.

Posted by: Susan | June 10, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

obviously. the BEST choice, the ONE (1) Senator who Dick Cheney wants to go bird blasting with...

[][]-----OBAMA-LEAHY '08--[][]--[][]-----[][]---[][][][]----[][]

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | June 10, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Dear American Voters,

Hon. Senator McCain and Obama, besides each having many attributes and characteristics. The critical differences between the two of these presidential presumptive nominees are as under:

1. Presidential "Temperament and Composer".
2. Little Washington "insider Versus outsider" experience.
3. "Vision and mission" for our nation future rather than past.
4. American policies, " first U.S.A Centric" than any other country [ ies ] centric.

In my professional opinion Senator Obama leads in all above qualities.

The need of our next movement and generation is a change. The Change in " past Washington and its Leadership". A change we can believe in and not the seductive, deceptive, and confusing slogan of "leader we can believe in" [? Effexor ?".

Our Greatgrand Nation has to address many present and future challenges and start with new clean "Slate and Senator".

God Bless America. its diverse people, and our Greatgrand Nation.

Our Greatgrand Nation is needs the CHANGE at every level and for long time.

I am sure Senator Obama with the help of Senator Clinton and her supporters, can deliver that CHANGE.

Please stay involved, stay engaged, and stay informed. Please do not allow any seduction, deception, and or confusion by some partisan media and leaders effect your vote [ Psychological Terrorism ]. We need a President who's temper is cool, calm. and collected during our economic and world challenges.

Yours truly,

COL. [retd] A.M.Khajawall
Disabled American Veteran
Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

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