Obama appearance with Bayh spurs VP talk
PORTAGE, Indiana – A visit by White House hopeful Barack Obama to Indiana set off speculation that he might be leaning toward picking Sen. Evan Bayh as his running mate.
Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, has long been seen as a strong candidate for the No. 2 slot on the Democratic ticket.
Like Obama, Bayh has an even temperament, but he would also bring to the ticket foreign policy experience as a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees. As a former governor, Bayh also has executive experience.
As Obama held a town hall in Elkhart on Wednesday, local media were abuzz with talk of Obama, a senator from neighboring Illinois, possibly announcing Bayh as his choice at the event.
But that did not happen. With Obama preparing to take a break from the campaign trail soon to visit his home state of Hawaii, it is highly unlikely that a vice presidential announcement will be made until much closer to the Aug. 25-28 convention.
Although Bayh supported Obama’s rival, Hillary Clinton, in the Democratic primary, the two men displayed camaraderie in Elkhart.
Obama hailed his Indiana colleague as “one of the finest United States senators that we have” and Bayh tried his best to bolster Obama’s efforts to link presumptive Republican nominee John McCain to the unpopular President George W. Bush.
When the two later stopped to greet voters and pick up some cheeseburgers at a diner in Portage, near Gary, some of the patrons joined the press in tossing questions to Obama about his running-mate.
To one woman who raised the subject at Schoops restaurant, Obama replied, “Evan Bayh is the senator from Indiana who is a friend and is supporting me in the campaign.”
“I haven’t made a decision about the VP yet,” he added.
Photo credits: (top) Reuters/Rebecca Cook (Obama campaigns in Lansing, Michigan on his birthday, August 4. (bottom) Reuters/Jeff Haynes (Bayh supporting Clinton for the nomination in May)