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Bayh, Nunn Decline to Decline a Possible Veep Spot

By Perry Bacon Jr.
WEST LAFAYETTE, In. -- Under repeated questioning from reporters at a press conference here, Democratic Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and former Georgia senator Sam Nunn made clear they would not decline the vice presidency if asked.

"Certainly I would talk to Senator Obama if he wanted to talk about that," Nunn said, after he and Bayh attended a national security event with the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Replying to the same question, Bayh said, "I love serving the people of Indiana" and called questions about joining the ticket "good for my ego." Neither would say what contacts he has had with the Obama campaign.

With their years of experience in government, both offer some strengths to the Obama ticket, and also hail from states that the Obama campaign is targeting to turn blue. Both are older, white men -- which might reassure some voters about Obama -- and neither is any threat to outshine him on camera.

Both also seemed ready to turn any question into a way to praise the the presidential candidate -- a requirement for the vice presidential post.

Asked if Obama would need either man to bolster his security credentials, both raved about the Illinois senator's own judgment on those issues.

"I personally think his credentials on those issues are pretty strong on their own," Bayh added.

Bayh was even more fulsome in his praise at the event itself. There, in his concluding remarks, Bayh said he he had seen video of Obama stealing the ball from someone while playing basketball during the run-up to the primaries here in May, and that the candidate's moves would help win in this hoops-obsessed state.

"He's strong on defense in a whole variety of ways," Bayh joked.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 16, 2008; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Next: MoveOn Ad Slams McCain on Iraq Withdrawal Timetable


I started this electiuon cycle with hope for real change in the way this country operates. Regardless of whether it is Brrack Obama or John Mc Cain who is elected to the office of the presidency nothing will change one bit.

It will be SSDD because the US govewrnment and both political paries are cultures of corruption top to bottom. They are bought bought and paid for by special interest and all 500 hundred members of the US congress are greedy unethical people.

That will not change until we seperate the office of the president and the US congress and all of the political parties from the money.

One person one vote and $100.00 and it ends there. At that point once again you will have a government by the people for the people but not before.

Posted by: Ralph Dreifus | July 24, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Why choose a Senator from a state with a Republican governor who would appoint a Republican to replace the Democrat? This should eliminate Bayh and Dodd. If looking for geographic balance and foreign relations experience, how about former Sen Breaux from LA?
My bet, however, is on Gov Richardson.

Posted by: whysguy1 | July 18, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I think the decision as to who the VP on Obama's ticket has already been made. I have felt for some time it was between Bayhr and Nunn. They both support compulsory national service, which is close to Obama's collectivist philosophy and the "social justice" indoctrination component of his record as a community organizer and student of Alinsky.

In fact, I think it will be Nunn, who went to Washington to save the draft. When it was ended, he spent the rest of his Senatorial career trying to bring it back. Sam Nunn loves the big cold war style military and National Service will restore it without having to draft a lot of women (national service provides a compulsory "choice"). As a McCain defense type, Nunn will reassure those who fear Obama is soft on Terrorism.

Those children of Hamlin who have been led astray by Obama will probably find a rifle or at least a National Youth Service (like Hitler, Stalin, Mao) in their future to "change" america--to "Amerika".

Posted by: RPhillips | July 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The obvious is beginning to show. McCain is so out of touch with reality that it is pitiful. However, what worries me is to what lengths Bush and McCain would stoop to get rid of Obama. With those two, I don't think Killing is out of the question. Spread the WORD and protect Obama. Obama 2008!!!

Posted by: caliguy55 | July 18, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow. What a tough decision. Obama cant pick Hillary, then he would by default be VP; if he picks any other woman then Hillary backers would be POed. Nunn has too much baggage and would alienate gs and ls; John Edwards no more experience than Obama; Jack Reed and Joe Biden and Chris Dodd would make great VPs but dont add anything geographically but Biden and Dodd have good name recognition; which leaves (so far) Evan Bayh (Kansas) and Tim Kaine (VA). Me, I think Biden is most impressive.

Posted by: Mullens | July 17, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 17, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The presidency is Obama's to lose. Picking homophobe Sam Nunn as VP will guarantee his defeat. But Democrats have a tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Posted by: GaBoy | July 17, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Sam Nunn would tick too many people off because of "Don't ask, Don't tell" They would have to deal with that. Biden is a good choice, because he can think on his feet. I still think Edwards is best. He would do well in the debates and he is respected.

Posted by: Sunshine | July 17, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I suggest Mr. Bacon look up the word "fulsome" in the dictionary before he misuses it again. It's surprising no one catches such slips. It's a small point, I agree, but sliding standards in the use of the English language in "newspapers of record" manifests a more general decline in the broader culture. As George Orwell understood, using bad English makes it easier to have stupid thoughts -- especially about politics.

Posted by: svetistephen | July 17, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Joe Biden. No better choice. He's smart, tough, pugilistic and the best qualified candidate for president, let alone vice president. All respect to the dull Bayh and the elder Nunn, but they are about as interesting as day old bread; they will probably weigh down the ticket with their blandness. Make Joe Veep, Nunn secretary of state and Bayh secretary of commerce.

Posted by: Soonerthought.Blogspot.Com | July 17, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The headline was soooooooo misleading. Neither man declined the position. This is poor journalism!

Posted by: linda57inPittsburgh | July 17, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Certainly I would talk to Senator Obama if he wanted to talk about that," Nunn said, after he and Bayh attended a national security event with the presumptive Democratic nominee."

To me, Sam Nunn stated his "credentials" in an appropriate manner, in an appropriate place. Simple, and straight to the point, that's Sam Nunn. Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Committee on Intelligence, long time servant of the Peach Tree State, he knows we Southerners well.

On top of that, he's a strong supporter of small businesses. He developed P.L. 101-510, the Mentor/Protege Law and got it through Congress. We were proud to work with him on that.

He would be a good representative of the Southern persuasion. He could help mightily in turning Georgia Blue. And, his influence would be felt in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and even Florida.

OBAMA/NUNN, that would be a winning ticket..

Posted by: WILFONG | July 17, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Finally, some people that will consider VP spot with Obama!

Posted by: theaz | July 17, 2008 1:41 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Daddio on the Paddio | July 16, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Nunn and Bayh = Dumb and Dumber

Kaine is the only logical choice. Both Nunn and Bayh are losers. Kaine is a winner and a popular Southern governator.

Posted by: Paddy McGuire | July 16, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Not much of a surprise with Nunn. He was never much of a realistic possibility.

But Bayh is a different matter. He was near the top of the list for both Clinton or Obama.

He is ambitious and wants to run for president some day but I don't think he wanted to tie his fate to Obama.

I guess this makes Tim Kaine the frontrunner and he would be a safe but somewhat of a ho hum choice.

Other ho hum choices are:
Ed Rendell
Bob Casey Jr.

Posted by: danielhancock | July 16, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I hope they aren't being seriously considered for the VP slot. Neither has a high enough profile or brings enough of a constituency with him. Sam Nunn hasn't been active in politics for 15-20 years. I can't even understand who thinks either Nunn or Bayh would be a good candidate, unless it's some kind of Republican sabotager.

Posted by: csdiego | July 16, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Joe Biden

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

again, poetic justice, Cheney replaced by Leahy. Would that be something. Leahy could spend the entire 8 years to bring about an international tribunal to put Cheney and his pet monkey on a small island. The Veep mansion will also need to be boiled to get out the stench of repug toe jam, and again, ONLY Leahy can acheive this. Leahy is our one man truth and reconciliation hope (Pelosi won't step up).

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 16, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Sam Nunn is too old and too republican-

The cracker was a weight around the neck of the Democratic Party for much of his last few years as Senator-
He's every bit the warmonger that McCain is and Senator Obama (and the US)do not need him...

Posted by: Kase | July 16, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what Bayh would bring in Obama's biggest weakness, military issues. Nunn is strong there but as was just posted he's been out of the game for ages.

Nunn would also hurt Obama with two groups, Clinton supporters and Gays. Nunn is behind DADT, when Clinton first got elected he fought over the gays in the military and it left bad blood, making Clinton look weak on his first effort.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | July 16, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

1rstly... Bayh supported HRC during the primary and in the process revealed his own inner Quayle. Sam Nunn, whom I respect, has been out of the loop for 20 years.

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

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 16, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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