Obama still mum on running mate
August 19, 2008
CHICAGO ” With speculation rising daily, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama kept his plans for naming a running mate to himself Tuesday and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, rumored as a possible choice, professed no inside knowledge of when word would come.
Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday morning and didn’t reveal his choice but praised Joseph Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman also thought to be among the contenders, for proposing an additional $1 billion of reconstruction projects in the Republic of Georgia after the Russian invasion.
Then Obama headed off for a bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia to discuss economic issues through Wednesday, leaving his schedule open at the end of the week for an announcement. The Democratic National Convention is set to begin next Monday.
The list of potential running mates is widely believed to be down to four names: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Biden of Delaware, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and Sebelius. Obama’s major rival for the nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, was seen by some Democrats as a longshot pick.
In Warren, Mich., Tuesday, Sebelius wouldn’t say if she expects to be chosen and said she doesn’t know the timetable for naming Obama’s choice. “I think a week from tomorrow we will all know,” Sibelius said.
Sebelius spoke to The Associated Press by telephone before telling a town hall meeting at Macomb Community College that “Barack Obama has been a very strong champion of equal pay for equal work. Sen. McCain, over and over again, has opposed the opportunity for pay equity bills to move through Congress.”
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Only Obama, his wife, Michelle, a handful of his most senior advisers and his two-member search committee know for certain who has been vetted and discussed. Staffers were already in place to aid Obama’s pick, including more than a dozen seasoned operatives who have set up shop in a section of the campaign’s Chicago headquarters.
Campaign manager David Plouffe has said that Obama supporters would receive first word of Obama’s decision through a mass text message, but otherwise the team has revealed little about what to expect. Historically, presidential tickets then tour battleground states to maximize media exposure, and Obama is expected to do the same.
A similar decision looms for Republican candidate John McCain. In hopes of grabbing the post-convention spotlight from Obama, McCain is considering naming his running mate in the few days between when the time Democrats leave Denver and when the Republicans begin their nominating convention in St. Paul, Minn.
McCain’s top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential pick in 2000 who now is an independent.
Lieberman has been traveling with McCain on his campaign plane recently.
Pawlenty was gearing up for a weekend campaign swing in Ohio and Pennsylvania on behalf of McCain and said he might travel to Denver next week as a McCain surrogate during the Democratic National Convention.