May 23, 2008

The Obama and Clinton campaigns are in "formal talks" about a VP slot for Hillary?

That's the report, but David Kurtz says:
On first blush I'm skeptical that there really are "formal talks" in the usual sense of that phrase. The report appears to lean heavily on sourcing from within the Clinton camp, which is notable. The significance here may not be that there are formal talks underway or that the vice presidency is under discussion. The real significance may be that this is the opening salvo from the Clinton camp ahead of the negotiations that would likely accompany her withdrawal from the race.
"Formal talks" seems like an awfully strange way to talk about something like this. It makes them sound like separate sovereigns.

Anyway... Obama: Don't do it! I mean, talk to her, get her to behave well toward your campaign, but don't put her on the ticket.

Here's Michael Crowley:
There are a lot of reasons why I think it makes no sense for Obama to pick Hillary, and why I don't think it will happen. There's the fact that Obama's entire campaign was a foil against Hillary's allegedly terrible Beltway-bound judgment. There's the absurdity of the idea that the Obama camp would be willing to wake up every day braced for whatever ill-advised thing was going to come out of Bill's mouth next. There's Obama's need for someone with more unimpeachable national-security credentials.


JDAXC said...

Pure poppycock!
Why would Obama want the Clinton baggage? Why give the Republicans a greater target-rich environment?
Choosing her would be the ultimate example of hypocrisy.

PatCA said...

There's some speculation, I guess, that she is demanding to be offered the VP with the understanding she'll turn it down, but the Obama camp doesn't trust her to turn it down. (


vbspurs said...

Ann, did you see last night I quoted from Kaus' Slate piece?

Obama has chosen Walter Mondale's ex-campaign manager, Jim Johnson (!), to head the VP selection process.

'Cause you know, last time Obama's favourite Italian lass in the whole world was chosen for VP.

Oh, and he helped Kerry pick Edwards, and Kerry was creeped out by Edwards.

Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he’d never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he’d do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade’s ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he’d never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn’t pick Edwards unless he met with him again.

Using your son's death as a resumé enhancer has got to be an all-time low.

Nice going, Mr. Johnson.


Fabio said...

I can think of one more reason: Obama is mortal.

MadisonMan said...

I believe it. The VP slot of the Libertarian party. Barr Clinton.

That's a great sentence that describes my view about Hillary in the White House.

vbspurs said...

McCain/Clinton '08...

(One of my readers came up with that one)

Pastafarian said...

Ann --

What's your reason for not wanting her on the ticket as VP?

I can think of several, but I'm conservative. I'm wondering what your reasons are. You're a democrat, and many of your policy positions (the Iraq War, for example) seem to track pretty closely with Clinton's, more than they do with Obama's (although he's a bit of a blank slate).

I never really understood why you voted for Obama. I know that you wrote a very long post about this decision, but I was never able to determine from your post what the real kernel of your reasoning was. I concluded at the time that you'd been seduced by the "Yes We Can" propaganda video.

But now you don't want her on the Supreme Court, you don't want her for VP -- what's up with that?

And her lack of qualifications really doesn't wash as a reason -- you voted for Obama, for Christ's sake. My cat is more qualified to be President.

Bob said...

Gods. Hillary on the ticket? The only reason she's stayed in the race this long is she's yearning for that Sirhan Sirhan moment.

Anonymous said...

Since the Jerimiah Wright story broke who has one more primaries? delegates?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

she's yearning for that Sirhan Sirhan moment.

She's a lot of things...I can't stand the woman...but that's taking it a bit far. Good grief.

Anonymous said...

"There's the absurdity of the idea that the Obama camp would be willing to wake up every day..." and find Slick Willie creeping about the White House looking for warm-blooded females. OK, maybe 'warm-blooded' isn't strictly a requirement. And yes, I know he wouldn't be living there; but it's a large, familiar target of opportunity for the trouser missile.

Clint Wolbert said...

Yeah but the Dems would blow the GOP out of the water with her on the ticket. Just keep Clinton campaigning in the South and in the rust belt and watch that map turn blue.

George said...

Ain't gonna be no formal talks outside the convention. It will be ugly in the streets.

Check out

Go to the 'direct action' page which reads in part: "To say it is violent to destroy the machinery of a slaughterhouse or to break windows belonging to a party that promotes war is to prioritize property over human and animal life."

Also check out the "Street Tactics" page and learn how to form battle formations with shields, just like Vikings.

This group (leaders are unclear) is raising money with Dead Prez Benefit Concerts.

The Yippes were children compared to these people.

OldGrouchy said...

I keep thinking of the ramifications of a new Manchurian Candidate scenario! Is it appropriate to even mention that possibility, with Hillary as the Queen of Hearts?

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

It's not a linear system: you can't sum the votes that would go to Clinton with those that would go to Obama and come up with a big Dem win. That's double counting.

Oops, silly me, maybe you're right after all

vbspurs said...

Is it appropriate to even mention that possibility, with Hillary as the Queen of Hearts?

Despite Zach's queasiness, I've heard my black postman openly talk about this.

God forbid anything really does happen to him, it would make the JFK assassination look like a day in Coney Island.

Step away, Obama...Richardson is will do.

Clint Wolbert said...

No but you can effectively double the contested map. Clinton won't fall off the face of the earth like Edwards did in 2004. She'll get attention.

Clinton isn't like a typical VP candidate. Running both Obama and Clinton would give the Dems two presidential-caliber stars running against McCain and, who, his great grandson Jindal? The press would be astronomical.

downtownlad said...

Ann - It's quite obvious that you're voting for McCain (because of the Wright incident). So why should Obama care what McCain voters think?

Hilary as a VP would be a good way to get all of the Hilary voters on board. I think it's a smart choice.

SteveR said...

The biggest problem would be replacing all those campaign materials with "CHANGE" on them.

Anonymous said...

Selecting HRC to be his VP would be concrete evidence that Obama lacks the judgment necessary to be president of the US.

Why on earth would he want the Clintons to become the black hole into which all media attention is drawn as the VP office becomes the launching pad for HRC 2012?

What is there to negotiate? Just say no.

John Stodder said...

Karen Tumulty of Time reported that Clinton offered herself the VP slot and Obama turned her down. The blogger who linked to this offered the rejection as an explanation for what the left is deeming to be Hillary's madwoman scene about Florida and Michigan.

Supposedly Bill is going around promoting the idea that she's earned a slot on the ticket and must be selected.

I think that might explain why Jim Johnson was appointed by Obama to vet VP candidates. Kaus is right; there is nothing Obamish about Johnson, who is a failed old fart whose every bad move turned to gold, for him. But Jim Johnson might be considered to have the gravitas to tell Hillary and Bill to shut up about the VP slot.

It's interesting that some of the more liberal commenters here actually like the idea. I see their point. If you stand back from the personal histories and animosities, there is no stronger Democratic ticket if the objective is to win the White House. There is almost no one else Obama could pick who brings much to the table.

George Mitchell is probably the second best idea out there -- a very smart man who would subtly dominate a VP's debate, and who could be positioned as Obama's consigliere, much like Cheney was supposed to be for Bush. He's not exactly dynamic, and his state is small and already pretty blue. But he'd have a lot more credibility and get a lot better press than some of the unfamiliar names being discussed.

Anonymous said...

George - I wouldn't put too much faith in the recreate68 website you mentioned in your post.

Let's pretend for a moment that you and I are part of the local, state and federal security team entrusted with keeping things secure and peaceful at the convention in Denver.

A really good tactic would be to put up a website threatening violent demonstrations, and asking that those who need a place to stay register by typing in their names, addresses, etc.

And also, we'd arrange weekly meetings in a public place where attendees can be photographed while discussing their likely tactics.


john said...


This isn't tag team wrestling. Although I am sure vp-cand. Clinton could pin vp-cand. Jindal 2 of 3, I am also sure that the choice of a VP candidate has not won or lost an election.

Of course the Dems are in a unique situation this year, so who knows.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama would be dumb to NOT pick her. I believe it would assure him of a win in the GE.

Trooper York said...

Well judging from her pantsuits, she can give him the camel-toe
clutch to win the bout.


Clint Wolbert said...


This is absolutely a different kind of situation. The Democrats sucked all the air out of the room in 07. You think that the second female VP candidate (and the first former First Lady to run for the job) wouldn't get more coverage than whatever rando McCain chooses as his #2? This would be an historic ticket. The press would gobble it up. Tag team wrestling isn't the right metaphor... it would be 2 on 1 wrestling.

That being said, I've long thought the ticket would be Obama-McCaskill. But I hope I'm wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

Pastafarian: I never wrote a post explaining all my reasons for voting for BO in the WI primary. I only traced my old blog posts to see the evolution of my attitude toward him. That's not the same thing as laying out an argument. But basically, I think Obama could be a very positive figurehead for the country, inspiring a lot of people to get past racial divisions (obviously the Wright stuff throws that off a bit). I think he's a good man, smart, thoughtful, and probably more practical and problem-solving than ideological. I think he's sane and normal, which is rare among those who go for the presidency. Also I have problems with HRC, because I think she may not be flexible enough to be a good decisionmaker and because I don't think Bill Clinton should be returned to the White House.

I certainly haven't decided to vote for McCain, whatever DTL thinks. I think it's probably time for the Democrats to have some time in the White House, but I am afraid of having a Democratic Congress and President at the same time.

john said...

The press (the talking heads too), having given the Dem primary so much ink, and largely in the tank for Obama anyway, can hardly become an even greater player in the election. By being so blatent for Obama, the press may find itself as less relevant, not more, as the process continues.

Also, for them to turn around and get all goody about vp-cand Clinton on the ticket is too much to expect. I thinks it's more likely that the wrath of both Clintons is going to come down on various news orgs (esp the NYT) as soon as she drops out of the race. That will not be pretty, although it will be funny.

Paddy O. said...

there is no stronger Democratic ticket

I think this might be true in regards to winning an election. But I can't imagine this is true for either governing or for Obama's peace of mind.

Obama would be forever tied to the Clintons, taking on their foibles as his own, taking on their constant attempts to grab the spotlight and power and influence. He would have to continually appease Hillary and her followers by giving to them a piece of his authority. This would be the start and they would forever hold his need for their influence over him.

He would not be his own man in the White House. He would be bringing in a crowd and could easily get lost in that crowd. Having Hillary as VP would be a daily, constant frustration for him that just doesn't see worth it.

It might make sense according to election politics, but it absolutely seems absurd when thinking about post-election. Obama needs, for his own sake and for the country, to be his own man and stand strong on his own capabilities to win. He needs to find someone loyal to him, not people proven again and again and again to be loyal only to themselves.

Clint Wolbert said...

Agreed about the press being, shall we say, highly favorable to an Obama nomination. But there's no reason to think that they wouldn't react just as favorably to a potential Obama presidency, producing the same effect, only against McCain instead of Clinton. McCain does get fantastic coverage in his own right though, so I think the positive press differential would come down to the historic nature of the Democratic ticket.

And it will certainly be interesting to see the Clintons open up against the press for the treatment she's been given. She definitely has a legitimate gripe.

downtownlad said...

Ann - You have decided, even if you haven't admitted it to yourself yet.

downtownlad said...

Obama could just treat the Vice Presidency like a bucket of spit as it was for centuries, and just send Hillary to funerals.

After all, the Vice Presidency at the start of this country was always held by the opposition party. And that didn't make one iota of difference.

Besides, Hillary as Vice President is going to want to come across as good as possible, because she's going to be positioning herself for another run in 8 years.

paul a'barge said...

Crowley: There's the fact that Obama's entire campaign was a foil against Hillary's allegedly terrible Beltway-bound judgment

Crowley obviously completely forgot about John F Kennedy's election in which LBJ was the VP pick.

Someone needs to ring Crowley's alarm clock.

garage mahal said...

Obama can't solve a basic and simple problem of seating delegates for Christ sake. For months he's drug his feet without coming up with a solution or even an opinion on our most fundamental rights as Americans. Is this how he would lead? Not sure what's practical or problem solving about that. If she is offered it I hope she turns it down. Let him do it on his own, which I doubt he can. She will get blamed no matter what happens, and it's obvious this country has too many disturbed children like Andrew Sullivan and Chris Matthews that likes to pick wings off anything that can fly who simply couldn't handle it.

Paddy O. said...

Obama could just treat the Vice Presidency like a bucket of spit as it was for centuries, and just send Hillary to funerals.

I don't think he could. If Obama caves to the Clintons in offering the VP slot, they aren't going to be content going to funerals. They are going to continue to wield their influence, power, and whatever else they have to manipulate for more and more power.

Never in public, but certainly in private. Obama doesn't strike me as someone strong enough in his own identity to withstand that.

This isn't even mentioning the clashes that Michelle Obama and Hillary would have. Michelle almost certainly wants to be the high profile first lady and influence policy--to be the new Hillary. Having the old Hillary around would get in the way of that.

Obama needs a team player--one playing for his own team.

Anonymous said...

Hope and Change. There. Now you Dems can tune out, as there remains nothing of substance on the left. Tape the speeches, though, to replay and enjoy multiple Obamagasms in the privacy of your home. Feelin' good. Feelin' good.

Steven said...

Obama should hold formal talks with Clinton, with no preconditions. Preparation, yes, but no preconditions.

peter hoh said...

Clinton is a terrible choice for VP. Rather than ensuring a win in the general, Clinton on the ticket is will cost Obama the election.

My current fave: Jim Webb.

former law student said...

but it's a large, familiar target of opportunity for the trouser missile.

Thanks for the laugh.

Hillary would be continually moping and muttering "that should have been mine," and Bill would back her up. Keep the toxic Clintocity out of the Obama White House. Hillary is at best a polarizer.

reader_iam said...

"Formal talks" seems like an awfully strange way to talk about something like this. It makes them sound like separate sovereigns.

To the contrary, formal talks is a perfect (and perfectly hilarious) way to talk about two politicians whose diehard sets of followers, if not the candidates themselves (although ... ), tend to talk about and treat them as if they're sovereigns, and maybe even God's Gift to These United States.

dbp said...

Clinton will come out on top with the VP slot or without it.

If she gets the slot, she will be the most influencial VP we have ever seen. If she doesn't get the VP slot, there is a great chance Obama will loose the general election. Then Clinton is poised to run in 2012 and after 12 years of Republicans any Democrat would win.

Simon said...

vbspurs said...
"God forbid anything really does happen to him, it would make the JFK assassination look like a day in Coney Island."

Worse yet - imagine Obama wins the popular vote but loses in the electoral college. His supporters would go to war for an amendment.

Bob said...

Remember my post earlier in the day? Now look at this.

reader_iam said...

My God, Hillary, what a weird-ass week you've had. Please: Take the weekend off!--if not for your sake, than for ours.

vbspurs said...

Worse yet - imagine Obama wins the popular vote but loses in the electoral college. His supporters would go to war for an amendment.

Operation Chaos II? Operation Seek and Destroy? Operation Democrats Gone Wild?

We laugh, well I do anyway, but actually this is a very volatile situation and we can only hope cooler heads prevail, Simon.

vbspurs said...

Bob, I brought that up in the other thread.

Simon said...

Well, one has to hope so. I'm given ome optimism by Ann's observation:

"After the 2000 election, one heard surprisingly little expression of alarm or outrage
that the electoral vote allocation caused the loser of the popular vote to win ... [T]he aftermath of the 2000 election demonstrated ... [that] people understood that they were voting in fifty-one concurrent elections that would be aggregated according to an eighteenth-century scheme. The nation understood three hundred votes in Florida to be more significant than a half-million votes nationwide ... [and] there was widespread acceptance of the structure of the electoral college and even the House contingency, which people presumed would operate in a purely partisan manner.

Althouse, Electoral College Reform: Déjà vu, 95 Nw. U. L. Rev 993, 1011-2 (2001) (footnote omitted). I worry that the left has become even more insistently and dogmatically majoritarian since then, and they now have an already-messianic candidate. Why should we assume that these angry people - largely ignorant of, and certainly contemptuous of the the oldness, whiteness and maleness of the framers - will accept the denial of their messiah by something so petty as mere law?

blake said...

I think Victoria is right. Imagine HRC as VP and Obama dying.

Hell, she could be Veep to McCain and if he died, there would be conspiracy-mongering to make 9/11 troofers look reasoned.

This race just solidifies the impression that she's ruthless. (And I don't even see how it's warranted; it's still a close race.)