Friday, August 15, 2008

VP Friday

Today's mini-boomlet: Tim Kaine, who cancelled a town hall event Sunday night, while the Obama campaign scheduled an event in Richmond, VA for Thursday. Mini-mini for Wesley Clark, who appeared on CNN (but his son suggests he hasn't been vetted.) Armbinder mentions a focus group test in VA that didn't come out too good for Kaine, whatever that's worth.

My favorite is from the Swampland blog of Time, mostly because it contains a name I hadn't heard before, and somebody I know, an old college acquaintance, former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. Based mostly on announced speaking gigs at the Dem Convention for Biden, Bayh, Sebelius, Janet Napolitano, Claire McCaskill, those remaining in the running are: Kaine, Dodd, Clark, Bloomberg (the Mayor of NYC I presume), Reed (who I thought took himself out of consideration), John Kerry, Sam Nunn, Chet Edwards (Pelosi's fave) and...John Podesta.

The convention speaker list means nothing, of course, and would be a fine way to deflect attention from the actual nominee. The only tea leaves I read in the convention is the roll call vote for Hillary Clinton--that pretty much tells you that she's getting that moment, but not another one, like the v.p. nod.

(Offically, the Obama campaign told the NY Times: “We reserve the right to change the schedule when we want and you shouldn’t make any assumptions,” she said. “Any person speaking on any given night could speak again as vice president.”)

Al G. at the Field discusses all this, and favors Kaine or Dodd. . Al puts more stock in the elimination potential of the speaker list than I do, but I tend to agree with him: out of this group of choices, Dodd or Kaine seem the best. Dodd for the "experience"/foreign policy and for championing civil liberties, and the white hair. Obama-Dodd is a good sounding, good looking ticket. The only thing the GOPers can bring up about Dodd that I know about is this question of an improper loan. Dodd has that New England thing going for him, the Kennedy thing, which can help with older voters.

Kaine is the "change" candidate, Catholic, speaks Spanish, VA Gov with midwestern accent, reinforces the Obama brand. I'm not sure he's an effective speaker, but he's good in interviews. He also can counter the Obama isn't American bullshit in an unusual way: their grandparents come from the same small town in Kansas.

The choice will tell us to some extent how worried the Obama campaign is about the "experience" mantra.

Al notes that two speaking slots haven't been announced: the person who places Obama's name in nomination, and the VP's. I'd expect the VP introducer won't be announced until the VP choice is, but unless Obama wants to go the traditional route and have his fellow Illinois Senator (Dick Durbin) nominate him, a really great choice would be Al Gore.

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