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The Obama Camp's Pick for McCain's No. 2

I finished up an appearance on MSNBC this morning to discover that Robert Gibbs, the amiable spokesperson for the Obama campaign, would be filling the chair after me. So, I figured I'd hang around. Not surprisingly, the chitchat was all about the selection of Sen. Joe Biden as the vice presidential running mate for the senator from Illinois. During a golf cart ride from the Pepsi Center to just outside press tent No. 5, I asked Gibbs who he would want Sen. John McCain to pick as his No. 2.

"It would be fun to run against Mitt Romney," Gibbs said of the former Massachusetts governor who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination against McCain and eight others. "You'd have to have a special edition of Architectural Digest to feature them. They must have 12 homes together."

And so the Obama campaign continues what it sees as an irresistable line of attack meant to undermine McCain in the eyes of voters. Just as Obama's penchant for big rallies and lofty speeches gave the McCain camp the perfect backdrop for its "celebrity" charge, McCain's gaffe last week -- not being able to tell a reporter how many homes he and his multi-millionaire heiress wife have -- was a perfect opening for the Obama camp to push back against charges of elitism. And apparently too good to let die after a couple of news cycles. At a time when millions of Americans are worried about losing their only home to foreclosure, the gaffe could have particular resonance.

Ultimately, Obama's mouthpiece said he thought the senator from Arizona "will go safe and pick [Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty." Gibbs declared that McCain is in a bit of a box, highlighting last week's flurry over the potential of a pro-choice running mate. "They will either split the party or give in to Rush Limbaugh."

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 24, 2008; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Please identify this author.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Interesting post. You found something interesting to put up in these two opinions from the Obama camp.

As you pointed out, the responses reveal a lot about positioning and strategy.

Obviously, the Obama camp is aware of the problems McCain is having with his base, i.e. how his base is fighting him constantly, boxing him in and making him fight against those who obstinately cling to those signature items or litmus tests in the Republican brand that are deeply unpopular hallmarks this year. Guys like Rush Limbaugh are threatening revolt against John McCain if he doesn't himself cling to those outward litmus tests that invite demonization this year. The spoiled and demanding Republican base is McCain's biggest vulnerability and weakness this year as he tries to lead the party to a more moderate and updated platform this year.

The talk about McCain's VP pick can reveal a lot about the ideas, future strategy and positioning of the two campaigns.

Nice to see a blog post that has relevant political info in it.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"By Jonathan Capehart"

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that he thinks Pawlenty is "safe", that shows that the Obama guy is focused on social litmus testing of the right wing.

I'm unsure that McCain is facing the same landscape, after Obama picked Biden as VP. I think McCain has more latitude to stray now, because the Biden as Obama's VP shifts the focus to substance, not social themed competition.

This guy might have been blowing misinformation at you, but still his use of language and his memes are revealing.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 25, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

sometimes when I look at our politics, and see the Rove and Limbuaugh effects, I feel like we're all back in 6th grade still figuring
out how we deal with the class bully.

Posted by: Scott J. Buxton | August 25, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse


Oh, I get it: "PostPartisan." Gee, that's really funny Post. You're so gosh darn clever.

So it looks like one of the Washington Post editorial board's newest and youngest editorial writers -- Mr. Jonathan Capehart -- having come fully, is now doing the TV punditry circuit, having reached his full-flowering as a TV political commentator. Yay for you.

As for the rest of us, it means one more Voice in the head of the body politic that it's best just to tune out, lest punditry insanity set in.

But I thought Ruth Marcus, Fred Hiatt, and Jackson Diehl, not to mention all those former Postie editorial writers who sit on the Council of Foreign Relations, were more than enough.

You know the usual fare: free trade, take the high road, hold hands, Washington Consensus, free trade, Iraq War Good, Hillary Bad, free trade.

Now we've got our latest addition: Obama Is Our Savior.

That aside, how did Mr. Capehart get to be an editorial writer for The Washington Post at such a young age, and why are his opinions so valuable that we should care about them? I suppose that's true of all pundits and op-ed columnists and editorial writers, whatever their age, experience, or distinguishing characteristics.

There is more than a little part of me that is hoping Obama loses to McCain (followed by, yes, Hillary in '12) because it would truly be a satisfying and edifying joy to see the Washington punditry try to come to terms with that kind of reality.

Posted by: Arcturus | August 25, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

My net worth is less than $50,000. I hope that qualifies me to post a comment on this blog. The coverage of this campaign has degenerated to the lowest form of journalism I have ever witnessed. How many homes does a "amiable spokesperson for the Obama campaign" or a "Washington Post columnist who makes appearances on MSNBC" own? Regular Joes want to hear about what a VP brings to the ticket not about Biden's net worth. What a disgrace.

Posted by: clyde | August 25, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

My net worth is less than $50,000. I hope that qualifies me to post a comment on this blog. The coverage of this campaign has degenerated to the lowest form of journalism I have ever witnessed. How many homes does a "amiable spokesperson for the Obama campaign" or a "Washington Post columnist who makes appearances on MSNBC" own? Regular Joes want to hear about what a VP brings to the ticket not about Biden's net worth. What a disgrace.

Posted by: clyde | August 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

According to his Post page, "Capehart and the [New York] Daily News editorial board won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for their editorial series on the Apollo Theater in Harlem." See that page for more information.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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