Obama meets on No. 2 pick: Kaine? Biden? Bayh?

July 29, 2008

WASHINGTON – With the clock ticking on his hunt for a running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent nearly three hours on Monday meeting with his vice presidential search team and campaign advisers.obama-mon.jpg

Obama visited the downtown office of Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general who is leading the process of researching and analyzing potential vice presidential picks, and emerged with little to say.

Asked by reporters who he met with, Obama replied: “Some guys.” As he got into his car, he asked reporters how they were doing then told them: “Get back on the bus.”

A few minutes after Obama pulled away, the Politico newspaper reported that the other leader of the search process, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John Kennedy, and campaign manager David Plouffe and strategist David Axelrod left the building through a separate entrance.

The Washington Post reported Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has had “very serious” talks about joining the ticket, according to sources close to Kaine. Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh are also being seriously vetted for the job, the Post said.

Neither Obama nor Republican rival John McCain is expected to make a choice during the opening week of the Olympic Games in China, which start on Aug. 8, giving them less than two weeks to make their decisions known or wait until near the nominating conventions.

The Democratic convention opens on Aug. 25.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage  

– Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama speaks alongside his top economic advisors during a roundtable meeting at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on July 28)


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Kaine has little experience, Biden has too much DC experience, but Bayh is just right. Evan Bayh for VP. He is a moderate Democrat who has a varied background and is popular in a winnable Indiana. He won’t make mistakes on the campaign trail, which is critical in today’s 24/7 media cycle. If these are the final three, Bayh is the best bet. But realistically, the only VP candidate who could turn this election would be Hillary Clinton. It’s unfortunate that she does not appear to be on the final list.

Posted by Katie | Report as abusive

It’s not going to be Kaine…I just can’t see Obama picking a guy with no foreign policy experience, no experience on a national platform on any issue, only a governor for 2.5 years, that he would have to spend a lot of time getting America up to speed on…

and the VP debate…oy…it would be like throwing a crap shoot. Can you see this guy going up aaginst Romney if Romeny was the nominee…mayb ePawlenty but Romney…or Ridge would make mincemeat out of the guy.

Obama is not a candidate that needs quiet milktoast. He is so subdued already…he is not Bill Clinton who was a messy gaffer himiself…charming but a messy gaffer even back when he ran…

He needs a tough guy.

and more than that…he needs a candidate America is comfortable with. Change is good but it’s best if there is a comfortable face standing next to the changer.

Posted by dl | Report as abusive

Obama should pick Bayh. Kaine has zero foreign policy experience, and does not have a track record on the economy (the #1 issue on voters’ minds). He merely rode the wave created by his predecessor, Mark Warner. Warner may have been a decent choice, but he is running for Senate, lacks foreign policy knowledge, and Virginia insiders know that Warner has some “personal issues” that could get unearthed under the media spotlight of a national campaign.

Biden is too wacky. All you need is access to YouTube and you can see him offending minorities and generally ignoring any filter between his brain and his mouth (if he has such a filter). Biden is also a longtime DC insider, and thus would be too much of a contrast with Obanma’s “Change” message.

Bayh was two-term governor of a rustbelt state, Indiana. It’s a state that could be in play this year. As Governor he created jobs, balanced budgets, and attracted investment. When he left office Indiana had the largest budget surplus in its history. Yes, he has been in Washington since 1999, but his two terms as Governor AND independent voting record demonstrate that he is an outsider and candidate for change.

Bayh also has foreign policy and national security experience. He sits on the Armed Forces and Intelligence Committees, and frequently speaks on national secutiy issues.

Northeast liberals and big city newspapers may think he is “boring,” but Hoosiers, Buckeyes, and others in blue collar American know and like Evan Bayh. He would be the VERY smart choice.

Posted by Steve in Columbus | Report as abusive

He should pick Hillary Clinton. She is far and away the best qualified, independent-minded and independent-thinker, good at being able to be “second” — and in a position to work with Senator Obama to allow the country and the world to best utlitize the multiple resources Bill Clinton offers the country.

If he does not select Hillary Clinton he may very well lose the election and never have the chance to lead this country.

Posted by Chloe Hensen | Report as abusive

Biden is the way to go. If it weren’t for people ignoring the more qualified candidates in the field in Iowa, he would probably be looking for a VP himself. Joe is intelligent and knows what’s going on. Especially in the sector that the US has been sorely lacking, foreign affairs, Joe is the only guy to complete this ticket. And as for him offending people, I think people need to stop looking for ways to constantly be offended. Everyone who has half a brain knows his heart in the right place. Unlike someone like Abe Lincoln who was just an opportunist who never intended racial equality, according to his exact words. But history remembers him as a great leader who fought for the rights of minorities. Pretty screwed up the way the people in this country treat their fellow man, if you ask me. They miss the point on many issues and focus on meaningless minutiae. Get a clue, America!

Posted by JC | Report as abusive

All signs point to Biden for the following reasons:

1.) Keane is an unknown, and Obabam needs someone to help him look stronger

2.) Bayh although a nice choice, would be replaced by a Republican, because Mitch Daniels the Governor of Indiana is a Republican and he would make the choice, and the Democrats would lose that seat, and possibly their veto proof majority.

3.) Biden is so well respected in Foregin policy circles that he would add a lot to the ticket, and he is a bulldog in debates.

My 1st choice was Richardson, but Biden would be great

Posted by BF | Report as abusive

and Bayh has too many speeches (also on youtube) talking up Hillary and talking down Obama…and too milktoastie…las tfew elections they picked the “safe” VP choice
…well cheney wasn’t that and they won twice…

the only time that is what you really want is when you have a slightly messy firey candidate…that is not obama…too “cool’ candidates makes for one unenthusiastic electorate.

Posted by dl | Report as abusive

Obama should pick Bayh.

Posted by Lee in Madison | Report as abusive

I can’t believe Obama would even consider Kaine. It would be ALMOST like Dan Quayle when it comes to name recognition. Mrs. Clinton is the logical choice; if not she, I’d like to see Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska)!

Posted by Ruth in Virginia | Report as abusive

To offset Mr. McCain’s heavy-duty military experience (even though it does not include ground pounding as a Soldier or Marine), Mr. Obama should in my opinion choose someone for VP with a curriculum vitae that includes service in the active duty uniform of the United States during wartime in a war zone, e.g., Vietnam.

It goes without saying, Mr. & Mrs. Reader, that this would exclude Messrs. Biden, Bayh & Kaine.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Biden could be accused of doing exactly the same thing that Messrs. Bush/Cheney/Wolfowitz/Rove et al did, i.e., avoiding military service while hundreds of thousands of other Americans risked or sacrificed their lives or limbs, sight, hearing and mental & physical health in SE Asia (i.e., Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos) between 1963 and 1973.

Mr. Biden graduated from college in 1965, and from law school in 1968. He briefly practiced law and went into politics in 1970. He was elected to the senate in 1972. He is from a very small state (Delaware) and he voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002. The latter item alone should keep him off the democrat presidential ticket.

I am a firm believer that if Mr. Biden had experienced the counterinsurgency in SE Asia, that he would have known better than to vote to deploy Our Best & Finest into another such counterinsurgency in SW Asia (Iraq…or even Afghanistan for that matter). Even if he didn’t see the occupation and counterinsurgency coming, Mr. Biden should have realized that no president (especially Mr. Bush) would give up the added power inherent to a wartime presidency easily (or at all).

As we have seen, Mr. Bush is going to hold onto that power until noon on January 20th…more than 6 years after a foolish congressional majority gave it to him on a silver platter just before the 2002 congressional midterm elections (when congress basically threw its constitutional war powers in the trash by not upholding the U.S. Constitution).

Mr. Biden also cosponsored the so called Patriot Act of 2001.

Mr. Bayh has no military experience either. He’s too young to have served in SE Asia. However, he could have served in the peacetime U.S. military. He opted not to. He graduated from college in 1978, and from law school in 1981.

Like Mr. Biden, Mr. Bayh voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002, whereas Mr. Obama’s core campaign thrust is heavy criticism for Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton for doing the same thing. Not only did Mr. Bayh vote for the resolution, but he cosponsored it and appeared with Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain in the Rose Garden to announce it on October 2, 2002. Again, like Mr. Biden, Mr. Bayh cosponsored the so called Patriot Act of 2001.

Mr. Kaine, the governor of Virginia, has no military experience. Like Mr. Bayh, Mr. Kaine is too young to have served in SE Asia. However, he could have served in peacetime. He graduated from college in 1979, and from law school in 1983. He has taken no public position on either Iraq or the Patriot Act (that I know of).

If Mr. Obama wants a Virginian and a solid conservative who has served in the U.S. Marines in wartime in a war zone (i.e., SE Asia)…then Senator Jim Webb is the man who can add lots of weight to the Obama ticket as VP. Mr. Webb is a former republican who has seen the light. He is also a former secretary of the navy. While I realize Mr. Webb has taken himself out of the running for VP, I will keep mentioning him every chance I get until the selection by Mr. Obama is finally made.

OK Jack

Posted by OK Jack | Report as abusive

Does it matter who he picks for VP … Obama’s lack of experience is just like the last President, so why would we want someone with no experience with a pipedream for a platform?

Posted by dennis | Report as abusive

OK To pick a Senator Obama needs one from a state with a Democratic Governor so that she or he can fill the vacancy. That being said Biden is the one.

He is a Bulldog I like that. My 1st choice was Bill Richardson, but Joe Biden would be great.

If Obama picks Kaine, I will vote for him but he will not get my $$$

Posted by BF | Report as abusive

Look at the record. Biden is consistently there in terms of civil rights — neither Bayh or Kaine have his record — and as for the war, at least Biden owns the fact that his vote in ’02 was wrong and has an actual, workable plan to get the U.S. out of there and find a formula to keep the lid on the situation. I’ll take someone with a real record and the ability to take responsibility for actions — either right or wrong. Something I wish either one of our ‘front runners’ had – both Obama and McCain have a formidable case of ‘pin the tail on somebody else’s donkey.’

Posted by MFS | Report as abusive

Biden is the best choice.

He has amazing experience in foreign affairs, which is something I personally think our next president needs to focus on.

From the very beginning of this election I’ve always been a strong supporter of Sen. Joe Biden, but sadly he was overlooked when he was one the strongest democrats running for nomination.

Sure, his DC experience doesn’t match the look Obama is trying to create, but he would be stupid to not realize that Biden has so much to offer his campaign.

Posted by DH | Report as abusive

Personally, I’m a Bayh fan, and have been so for a number of years. I think he would bring along the most out of the three, both domestically and internationally. Neither Kaine or Biden have as much total experience as Bayh does. He has on five times in a state that Democrats usually don’t have a chance in, and he is soley responsible for building the IN Democratic Party to what it is today. He was first elected as Sec. of State, then two terms as Governor, and finally he’s in his second term as Senator, where he serves on such committees as Intelligence, Armed Services, Small Business, etc. IN would most certainly fall into Obama’s category with Bayh, and most likely more states in the West, Midwest, and possible South.

Obama/Bayh 08!

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Of the three Bayh is the best choice by far. Kaine is too inexperienced and has no national or foreign policy experience. Biden may have too much to be preceived as a change agent.

Bayh has very successful executive experience from a red state that could go blue. He will help with other midwestern states, and is very popular amongst the dems that Obama has difficulty with – blue collar and Hillary supporters.

Also – as proven by his electability in Indiana – he attracts Republicans and Independents with his centrist / moderate record.

Obama / Bayh ’08

Posted by tdj | Report as abusive

Joe Biden would be framed as being wrong about Iraq (he voted for the war) and wrong on the surge (saying that it would increase violence.) These are complex issues but that is how they would be reduced. Couple that with Biden’s very long Senate record and unpredictable verbosity, and there are many risks involved. He has also stated that he does not want the job. If that is true, could there be other quotes of his out there that belittle the office of the vice president? How could he defend that while being on the ticket? High risk with many potential distractions.

Posted by JS | Report as abusive

Now many may see this as being a little off but, I believe Chuck Hagel would be an excellent VP for Mr. Obama. He was against going to war in Iraq, and has military experience. He also holds the distinction of being the last republican politician in the country. He did not join with others who changed the republican party to the republinazi. He stayed his own man, and did what was right for his state that elected him. He would have been the only person that could have beat Mr. Obama in the presidential election. (sideline issue, did anyone ever think that McCain only got the nomination because the republinazi knew they where not going to have the next president. Someone had to be on the ticket, and McCain was the most expendable). I will admit that I don’t know much about some of the proposed VP candidates on the list. As I research some of the ones I ‘m not too familiar with I might favor one of them, who knows. I haven’t seen much that impressed me from the no-balls party though. All Biden does is posture, and Hillary would be about the same as McCain. The US really desperately need a few politicians that are not afraid of going against their own party for the betterment of our country. This seems to be something that both the republinazi and no-balls party forgot. Neither of these parties will give a rats butt about the people in this country until there are more independents and 3rd party candidates then them.

Posted by terry | Report as abusive

In my opinion Senator Evan Bayh would be the best choice for Vice President. Having seen him on television in a joint news conference with former Senator Sam Nunn, it was obvious that Bayh was an articulate man that would not up-stage a President Obama. In addition, with his positions on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Obama would be able to rely on him for advice when making difficult choices on these and other key issues. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is certainly an attractive choice, but I think in today’s world it is important to have a Vice President that has a grasp of international as well as domestic issues, much like Al Gore and Dick Cheney. While I don’t think Kaine would be another Dan Quayle, he certainly wouldn’t have the stature to give advice on the level of our more recent Vice Presidents.

Posted by Ashley H. West | Report as abusive

Obama would NEVER put Hillary in as V.P. Come on he couldn’t stand the competition she is too skilled, educated and experienced. She would just make him look bad and he is just too egotistical to let that happen, even for the good of the nation.

Posted by Beenatthiswaytoolong | Report as abusive

First, in order to position himself to mop up mess after mess left by Bush/Cheney, Obama must survive this lengthy and nasty general election process. There are some incredibly influential people who stand to lose should Obama triumph.

These financial giants and war mongers will not give up control without a bare-knuckled fight, as evidenced by their current puppet, McCain’s, violent shifts towards offshore drilling and embracing of the far-right dogma he shunned as a “maverick” for so many years.

For Obama to not only succeed, but do so convincingly, he must provide himself legitimacy and leverage to perform these tall tasks. He needs a veteran by his side to FIGHT for change – not just one who can talk about it or symbolize it by some prima facia perception like governors Tim Kaine, the presumptive favorite, or Kathleen Sebelius.

Obama is smart, tenacious and has surrounded himself with seasoned advisors. He has earned trust and endured more attacks in nine months than Bush has in eight years. Obama has shown he’s able to carry the burden – and fear – of change on his own bony yet sturdy shoulders.

That said, in a running mate, Obama needs an attack dog. He needs foreign policy gravitas. He needs someone with raw guts.

A politician who can talk milk and potatoes with grocery shoppers while explaining the real dangers of Pakistan to cynical crowds at the local VFW post.

We’ve had eight years of unchecked hubris. Why not some hubris from the left now?!?

Kaine, in this regard, brings little to the table except to try and turn Virginia blue and gather up some key independents and jaded Republicans. Ditto Indiana and Sen. Evan Bayh.

It’s our turn, and we need somebody who has scratched and battled for change for years. That is not “same old beltway politics”, that is experience FOR change and the resume to back it up.

That said, my top three picks for who would clearly be Obama’s most effective campaigner AND staunch assistant executive are as follows: Joe Biden, Joe Biden and Joe Biden.

The man is passionate, experienced and noble. He single-handedly neutered Rudy Gulliani and exposed “America’s Mayor” for the manipulating the fears and anxieties of the 9-11 attacks for his political gain.

Joe Biden gives Obama, not just the safety net that Bayh or Kaine would provide, but a springboard to go and do the great things that must be done in these next four turbulent years.

Any other VP choice is simply for geographical and/or cosmetic purposes only and will be less an asset than Biden ever would prove a liability.


Posted by Rick Bruni Jr. | Report as abusive

The guy needed the anti-Obama: Jim Webb.

Jim Webb may be inexperienced, but he is a passionate guy and that’s exactly what Obama’s campaign is missing.

Some people refer to Obama’s style as professorial. Sort of an insult to college professors, as I try never to seem that cool or dispassionate.

I’m sure he’ll give a fantastic convention speech, but the problem is that all the in-between appearances just aren’t that good.

He’s not Bill Clinton. Not even close.

Posted by David | Report as abusive