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Biden Trip to Georgia Stokes VP Chatter

By Shailagh Murray
RENO, Nev. -- The Barack Obama vice-presidential sweepstakes has entered its breathless final phase.

Word is the presumptive Democratic nominee hasn't placed final phone calls to any of the top contenders and the notoriously tight-lipped campaign won't discuss who is on Obama's short list, or drop any hints as to when the big news might hit.

So it may or may not be a coincidence that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, two presumed top prospects, appeared on Sunday news programs this morning. Further stoking the Kaine flame, Obama is scheduled to campaign in Virginia on Thursday.

But the most curious recent development was Sen. Joseph Biden Jr.'s trip to Georgia this weekend. Obama campaign officials said the fact-finding mission wasn't their idea, but they did confirm discussing it in advance with Biden's office.

As of late last week, the Delaware senator was set to spend the weekend at home with his family. His senior foreign policy aide, Tony Blinken, left for Hawaii on vacation. But then on Saturday morning, Biden's office announced the senator was headed for Tbilisi.

According to Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander, Biden spoke to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday, and on Wednesday, the Georgian embassy conveyed to the Foreign Relations chairman that Saakashvili wanted Biden to come as soon as possible, as the former Soviet republic sought a ceasefire with Russia.

Biden and Obama staffers discussed the proposed trip and Obama officials said they were glad Biden was considering it. One source familiar with the discussions added that had the Obama team opposed the idea, the senator would likely not have gone.

What does it all mean? Who knows. The vice presidential nominee is speaking a week from Wednesday at the Democratic convention, so Obama has to announce his decision before then.

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 17, 2008; 7:24 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Next: Ready to Rumble, Obama Hits the Trail


Nothing the US, UK, Israel, Georgia or Ukraine can or will do will check the Russian juggernaut, as was made clear two weeks ago. Whether it's Biden, Brzezinski or anyone else engaging Moscow, they will need to demure towards a highly organized military, economic and political Russian machine.

The Georgian attack on South Ossetia showed an act of weakness on the part of the West, not one of strength. It was an act of desperation in light of the energy victories the Russians have made in the former Soviet states, the Caucasus, Mid-East, South Asia, East Asia and South America.

Best to not bite off more than we can chew at this point....

Posted by: Russia won | August 24, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

If Obama needs security credentials than how come no one has brought up Eric Shinseki? Not only is a he a decorated four-star general, but he had the guts to point out we'd need hundreds of thousands more troops to secure Iraq--going up against the entire establishment. And he was right. Somehow he's gone into oblivion, and no one even quotes him or invites him on shows for his expertise, even though other military figures who didn't have his prescient wisdom or guys ARE on these shows. We need a guy like him who is not only gutsy but doesn't need to bask in adulation.

Posted by: B | August 19, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: bsmd | August 19, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

It will be Biden. He's the complete package, the Dems have a winner with Joe.

Posted by: Sheik Jabouti | August 19, 2008 4:12 AM | Report abuse

Biden was completely clueless during the Hill/Thomas hearings, and didn't allow in testimony that would have supported her allegations. The good news from that time was that women became energized to elect women to the Senate as those like Biden failed to understand what was happening.

Posted by: Lisa | August 19, 2008 2:13 AM | Report abuse

If OBAMA does not ask CLINTON to be VP, he is throwing away what would surely be a huge landslide victory for us as DEMOCRATS.

Everyone should take a moment and think rationally about this situation. Half of the AMERICANS who took place in the nomination process supported CLINTON, half supported OBAMA. If either one of these candiates did not offer the VP slot to the other, an equally supported candidate, then we as AMERICANS might conclude that a nominee who would do that does not have the best interests of the party, the country and overall, the world, in mind.

Hopefully OBAMA does what makes the most sense for the party, the country and once again, the world, and asks CLINTON if she will consider being be VP.

What should have been CLINTON/OBAMA to begin with had better at least turn out to be OBAMA/CLINTON or DEMOCRATS chances in NOVEMBER are stunted miserably.

COME ON DEMOCRATS - do the obvious and support a landslide victory in NOVEMBER.

Posted by: amandaGALAXY | August 19, 2008 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Wes Clark was the first politician I ever made an online contribution to, but I like him better now for Defense than VP. Or maybe State?

Biden was impressive during the debates, knowledgeable and composed. If the Georgians invited him, maybe they're not as impressed by McCain's understanding of the situation as he'd like us to think he is - during his talk with Rev. Warren he referred to one of the breakaway regions as something like "Askaya" (ok, close enough to Abkhaziya for a civilian - but he's claiming to be an expert).

And after this business about McCain lifting his cross story from Solzhenitsyn and speeches on Georgia from Wikipedia, that business about Biden's borrowing from some PM's speech long ago doesn't look so bad.

I vote for Joe Biden.

Posted by: Jude | August 18, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs a pit-bull to go out and tear up Mc Cain so he can stay above the fray. Biden is the perfect choice for that role! He's smart and can do what Obama needs him to do.

Posted by: Keith | August 18, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Biden is an excellent choice! He has excellent experience and can be great getting after those Repubs. I hope he is the choice!

Posted by: claudiatucsonaz | August 18, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Clark has the brain power for VP/ and or President... also he knows how to handle the Russians, and any other nation that wants to hurt the U.S.A.

We don't need more DRILLING OF THE FACTS!!

Posted by: Edward Soria | August 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I hope Obama picks somebody experienced like Biden. If he goes with a lightweight like Kaine, Sebelius or Baye, I will vote Green.

Posted by: Susan | August 18, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Well Shailagh, if the sources in your story are to be believed, then this trip tells us absolutely nothing about Obama's VP pick.

Posted by: Bill | August 18, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I was home on 9/11. When the networks were running around trying to find someone to speak with, Biden stood up.

He was calm, clear and very knowedgeable. I was very impressed at how he handled the situation.

Posted by: lancer | August 18, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Who said, Bill can't run as VP?"

Federal law.

Posted by: lancer | August 18, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Biden's trip to Georgia could also mean Department of State, Department of Defense. I like him at VP or any of those. I really like his candor and common sense approach to public responsibility. Candor seems to kind ring Obama's bells too. Funny thing about American public life and the role of candor. We need some.

Posted by: Gaias Child | August 18, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

How about Al-Sharpton?

Posted by: joe | August 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Biden! What's the problem? Just Do It Obama campaign! He's got the right stuff for your ticket, especially now. He's the only one I find exciting, reassuring and powerful enough to bring extra zing to your candidacy. Do it. Do it.

Posted by: susanlc | August 18, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Scott Baio would be a good choice.. How could things go wrong with Charles in Charge!

Posted by: Timothy B | August 18, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Biden is the senator from Delaware. He has no use in a national election, and he's spineless. He was on the Judiciary Committee approving all of Bush's War on Terror legislation.

Posted by: Barry | August 18, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I think I would be pretty disappointed to hear Bayh as the choice but it's hard to speculate still. All I can say is, with the Vice Presidential debates happening on my school's campus I would LOVE to see Biden there with his with some of his quick and cutting words.

Posted by: Ariel | August 18, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If Obama has to definitely win the election, he should select/convince/force/ Bill Clinton as his running mate. Who said, Bill can't run as VP? Of course, that would kill the future chances for Hillary! So, what?


Posted by: veveraa | August 18, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"He got a brain tumor after his weird behavior."


thrutheseasons, you need to look up the difference between brain tumor and brain hemorrhage (which is what biden had).

Posted by: K | August 18, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I, personally, think Biden would be a great choice. He certainly would give strength to a ticket headed by Obama. I also like Clark and Richardson. In fact, Richardson was my first choice to be the Democratic nominee. I have not seen anybody mention the name of Tom Daschle of South Dakota. He also would give substance and clout to the Obama ticket. I, personally, would not have any problem with Hillary but I am afraid that she would be too devisive. Her backers would be delighted but I think she carries way too much baggage.

Posted by: Richard Greco | August 18, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

One fact you neglected. Biden is traveling at the request of the georgian president. Not like batman and robin independently dispatched by mccain. It's a bit presumptuous on McCains part - overreacting to the situation as he did, sending his caretakers to the region. Some audacity - slammin' Obama and then over reaching on his response. We're lookin' at more irrational cowboy diplomacy from McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Biden? Ugh! Surely Obama can do better than that for a running mate. But frankly it'll all be for naught anyway since McCain and whoever he picks will win by a landslide in November. Obama and whoever he selects as his VP choice will simply go on to become a trivial pursuit answer. Remember Mondale and Ferraro? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Posted by: Richard | August 18, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Joseph Biden is CLEARLY the best choice. Actually wanted Biden/Obama.

Posted by: dab NY | August 18, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I liked Biden, even supported him for president, but after he got busted for plagiarism and his susceptibility for hubris, I think he is not the best choice. He got a brain tumor after his weird behavior. Wes Clark to me is the best choice. He is a straight talker, tough, super smart, and has military experience like no one else as well as the administrative experience that his job entailed.

Posted by: thrutheseasons | August 18, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Biden, another angry man, Perfect choice for a mate to grandstand their image.

Posted by: Anna | August 18, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Biden is clear No. 1.

Anyone else and Barak is hiding something, just like McCain and Rev. were hiding the fact McCain knew questions ahead of time. Didn't matter, McCain just recited talking points, Barak, although he stuttered was honest in a Repulican environment.

He needs Biden more than ever to counterattack and to garner respect from even the ignorant and claim the issues, not defend them like Saddleback.

No Kaine!!!!!!! Ugh!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Angry Dem | August 18, 2008 6:15 AM | Report abuse

My choice for VP is Sam Nunn.

Posted by: PoetX | August 18, 2008 6:00 AM | Report abuse

I think it's interesting that Bush is sending Biden to Georgia at a time when McCain is trying to send Lieberman and Graham. It looks like a slap in McCain's face, frankly. I wonder what he did to make Bush that mad.

Posted by: BabooKyra | August 18, 2008 4:55 AM | Report abuse

Solzhenitsyn wrote in his book Gulag Archipelago.IT was published in USA 1973.
That same story that McCain told about The cross in the sand????? check it out if you want at

Posted by: moseyon | August 18, 2008 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Shut up, everybody, Shut up now!

Posted by: Mike Hovington | August 18, 2008 2:21 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter, McCain, after he just got finished lying and cheating within the house of GOD!! How dare he. He was asked flat out how his room of silence was, in which he replied "I was trying to hear through the walls"... Ha Ha funny man, to bad you weren't even in the building sitting comfortably in your motorcade listening to the whole darn thing!!!!! How dare he indeed.

Posted by: eric | August 18, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I wholeheartedly agree with sterverino! Biden is a strong and wise choice. If Obama pulls in someone unknown (and unwanted, frankly) like Kaine I will be so extremely disappointed. Why? Because it will further reveal to me a candidate on the defense trying too hard to negotiate an election - or just another Democrat in other words. You know how they poll and over-strategize everything that they often end up with NOTHING. All I know is I did not like the man I saw yesterday being interviewed at the faith forum. This was a man being so wary and careful with his responses that he lacked authenticity. I think Obama needs to make up his mind about who the real candidate is going to be. I'm not digging this new guy so much. If he chooses Biden, though, my concerns will be for naught.

Posted by: Marie | August 18, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

(Biden) great debater, foreign policy expert, long list of accomplishments, knowledge of all the issues, has the respect of World Leaders and Military Generals. Obama needs a strong partner on the ticket to bring about change and Biden is the man with a proven record to do just that.

Posted by: julie | August 18, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Pulling for Biden! Tough guy, no-nonsense, international experience, name what if they say he's a "loose cannon"? That's just Washington code for "speaks his mind."

Kaine seems like a bland, boring choice.

Posted by: Steverino | August 18, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I think it's obvious that Biden is not the VP. He's gunning for defense sec or sec of state. imo the VP is Clark. Although he has been on down low for a while now.

Posted by: vb_GA | August 18, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I think either Biden or Richardson would make a fantastic choice. Both are interesting, likable and have the foreign policy chops to back up Obama.
And they are very much their own selves but, would never do anything to embarrass Obama.
They would be respectful of an Obama decision but, are not yes men.
Either one would be perfect.

Posted by: vwcat | August 17, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Warren Buffet

Posted by: Mark | August 17, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

The NY Times reports on its web site that McCain was not in a "cone of silence" during the Obama interview but was in his motor home on his way to the church. The McCain camp confirmed that fact but still denies he listened to Obama being interviewed. Whom are they kidding?!

Posted by: Munir | August 17, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Obama, send us the email! Oh, sooo excited!

Posted by: Just Judi | August 17, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I think it's going to be Senator Chris Dodd for Obama's VP. Biden will be Sec. of State.

Posted by: joyhollywood | August 17, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Biden or Clark contingent. But didn't I read, this week, that Clark's been un-invited to the Dem convention? Apparently Gen Clark's remark (not verbatim) about McCain's having been shot down and held prisoner in N Vietnam not automatically qualifying him to be Pres didn't sit well with the Obama camp. The right was decrying Gen Clark's comment as impugning McCain's service or some such.

I'd love to see Clark as VP, Biden would be my second choice.

Posted by: Rose | August 17, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Biden or Clark!
I like them both!
They are both easy on the eyes like Obama.
Obama and Biden look great together.

Posted by: Doris,Memphis,TN | August 17, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I am still a Richardson fan, and if he can stay out of trouble with the ladies, he would make a great VP.

I am a big Biden fan also.

Clark is interesting, but a distant third for me.

I still think, however, Obama's choice is going to be none of the above. It will be someone who isn't in the limelight at all - a surprise pick we didn't see coming. I look forward to getting that email when it comes out!

Posted by: Susan | August 17, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson, he was my first choice way back when.........
if not i can accept whomever the Obama campaign chooses...

They have been flawless, my congrats to every single one of you guys and gals!!!

Posted by: jackson | August 17, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree with most on here especially M Sierra SF's post !! Biden or Clark would make me happy.

Posted by: Derek Arrowsmith | August 17, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Bayh, Kaine, Richardson on the Sunday morning shows is nothing more than a head fake. Obama will wait until Biden returns from Georgia, and then announce. . .that he has selected Hillary Clinton as his VP pick.
Why? He HAS to. Obama has seen his national lead crumble and McCain is even catching up in the electoral college. Colorado, Virginia and even Ohio are now tied or slightly leaning toward McCain and the only person who can reverse the inroads that McCain has made is Hillary. I write this as someone who was absolutely opposed to her as the VP candidate just two months ago. I had hoped that Obama could open a double digit lead and pick who he really wants (probably Kaine or Sebellius). But it is not meant to be, and he knows his best (and perhaps only) chance of fighting back against the smears will be if he and Hillary make a deal: she will become his attack dog (she has become a MASTER of it during the primaries); Bill be finally be on board and will make the case for Obama-Clinton better than anyone else could and the ticket will go on to beat McCain-Romney by about 6 percentage points with an impresive electoral college victory of at least 320 electoral college votes.

Posted by: BillBolducinMaine | August 17, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

what will win?....Obama/Biden.
Joe will destroy anyone that attempts to
simplify or justify the right wing's foreign policy plan.

Posted by: MDS | August 17, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Biden is a Zionist Tampon, he and the Kosher Oreo Cookie will make a great team.

Posted by: prairiedog | August 17, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to Jim Webb? Wasn't he a leading contender?

Posted by: crix | August 17, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree Biden should be the one picking a VP. Maybe if the GOP dumps McCain because of his increasingly obvious cognitive impairment, the Dems can have a do-over as well, and put Biden in the top slot. He's the only one from the primaries who seems really presidential

Posted by: Mike | August 17, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Biden makes no sense as VP - not because he isn't qualified - but because he is overqualified. He is a powerful Senator in his current position which is probably why he has repeatedly stated that he doesn't want to be vice president. I suspect what is driving a lot of the Biden love is big time buyer's remorse about Obama. Campaigns are about marketing and Obama marketed himself as a change agent. Putting Biden on the ticket goes against that message. Certainly the Republican will point this out. Obama boxed himself in.

Posted by: Chris | August 17, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I Think It's Gen. Clark.... Not An Insider, With Tons Of Military/Foreign Relations Knowledge That Will Put McCain 2 Sleep..... I Stand By My Predictions Of May.... Obama-Clark '08 !!!

Posted by: UCFPoliSciGuy | August 17, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

personally I could never vote for anyone that voted for the Iraq War and it would be a mistake for Obama to speak against the voting for the War all primary season and then select anybody who did vote for it. he'd easily lose my vote and i'm wondering if he'd lose a lot others...

Posted by: Marker | August 17, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Biden would be the BEST choice:

He's been vetted and found clean

He has foreign policy gravitas

He's repented his Iraq war vote and opposes the Bush/McCain (bomb, bomb, bomb)
plan to attack Iran

He's got a sharp tongue and can go after McCain. A good campaigner is important

He's an insider, but liberal

Make it Biden, PLEASE !

Bayh has accmoplished NOTHING as a Senator
He's a conservative DLC member and a hawk

Nunn is too old and too conservative

Hillary is too crooked and self-centered

Chuck Hagel is a good mand, but he's anti-choice. Sec Defense or Sec State

Kaine is too new and inexperienced not a 'tough' campaigner

Richardson is a good man, but not a good campaigner, too conciliatory
He could work, though

Wesley Clark might be a good choice, too
He wouldn't be intimidated by McCain's military record (crashing planes and visiting strip clubs)

Make it Biden or Clark (with Richardson as a fall back)

Obama '08

Posted by: M Sierra SF | August 17, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

What about Bill Richardson?

He's got the best resume of 'em all . . . but perhaps this country isn't ready for an African-American AND a Latino on the same ticket. But New Mexico does have more electoral college votes than Delaware!

Posted by: Chris | August 17, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Biden would be a great choice. Great credentials on foreign policy, compelling personal story, obvious intelligence, charisma. Would have been a great president as well...

Posted by: maurban | August 17, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The V.P. is an important job from the election perspective...but the real job will be choosing who will get the thankless task of cleaning the neocons out of the DOJ, State Department, and on and on.

If those appointments don't receive sufficient attention, then we won't get America back.

Posted by: ibsteve2u | August 17, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen this???

McCain stole the "cross story too" "Cross in the Dirt" story stolen from Solzhenitsyn (updated) by rickrocket Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 09:32:42 AM PDT Along with other prisoners, he worked in the fields day after day, in rain and sun, during summer and winter. His life appeared to be nothing more than backbreaking labor and slow starvation. The intense suffering reduced him to a state of despair. On one particular day, the hopelessness of his situation became too much for him. He saw no reason to continue his struggle, no reason to keep on living. His life made no difference in the world. So he gave up. Leaving his shovel on the ground, he slowly walked to a crude bench and sat down. He knew that at any moment a guard would order him to stand up, and when he failed to respond, the guard would beat him to death, probably with his own shovel. He had seen it happen to other prisoners. As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work. As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire perspective changed. He knew he was only one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet he knew there was something greater than the evil he saw in the prison camp, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that hope for all people was represented by that simple Cross. Through the power of the Cross, anything was possible. Solzhenitsyn slowly rose to his feet, picked up his shovel, and went back to work. Outwardly, nothing had changed. Inside, he had received hope. From Luke Veronis, "The Sign of the Cross"; Communion, issue 8, Pascha 1997.

Posted by: tony | August 17, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Biden is the perfect Secretary of State. I can't think of anyone better.

With respect to the VP, both Bayh and Kaine are lightweights. Wesley Clark is the man.

Posted by: Rich Greer | August 17, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

This anticipation is killing me, I mean seriously. I have no idea who Obama is going to pick as his running mate but the anticipation of the whole thing is overwhelming, but suprisingly I like this feeling. Is that weird?

Posted by: Eric | August 17, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't know who Mr. Obama will select.

And it is presumptuous of me to speculate.

I am sure his choice will receive wide acclamation.

Posted by: Bob North Smithfield | August 17, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Turns out Saakashvili's alliance with the Bush administration has transitioned into more of an open-door policy, in his request to incorporate Biden. The Bush administration dropped a ball it never intended to throw; and now the soon-to-be elected Democratic administration has to preemptively conduct damage control. Yet more clean-up from behind the neoconservative debacle.

Posted by: Roman08 | August 17, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I still think the VP will be Clark, especially with the way he described the conflict on the Situation Room...

But Biden would make an amazing SecState

Posted by: Steve | August 17, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama has watered down his magic enough already. Bayh is a colorless schtick with no positive, driving energy. Interestingly, the only hand written response I have ever received from the Obama campaign suggestion box was a plea to avoid Bayh as the VP pick.

Posted by: Please not Bayh | August 17, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling it will be Biden as well. And good for him. He deserves it. Honestly, he should be the one picking a VP at this point.

Posted by: Jeremiah | August 17, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I think it's Biden or Bayh, 50-50.

Posted by: Justin | August 17, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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