A Brilliant Trap Makes Dems The Male Chauvinists August 31, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, feminism, gender, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Sarah Palin, sexism, Uncategorized, vice president, women's vote.
New York Post; by Kirsten Powers; August 30, 2008
SHE’S just a beauty queen.
She’s another Dan Quayle.
Following McCain’s announcement of Palin – the first female to be put on a GOP ticket for the White House, and only the second in US history – the Obama campaign skipped the niceties and blasted her as the “former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience.” She’s also a governor of Alaska (my home state), the first woman in that office and the youngest elected in state history. She has an 80-plus percent approval rating. She has turned the state upside down with her reformist zeal and has made enemies of the Republican establishment.
And she can talk energy policy, one of the biggest issues facing this country.
Is she a gamble? Definitely. But so is Barack Obama, who has himself dismissed experience as a prerequisite for leadership, despite his spot atop the Democratic ticket.
At this point, Palin is so unknown, there’s no way to make a clear judgment about her. But listening to Obama supporters take to the airwaves to shriek with indignation about her lack of experience is just a little too rich. Where were they when Obama, two years into the Senate, announced his candidacy for president?
One Obama supporter and political operative blogged, “In picking an unknown, untested half-a-term governor from Alaska . . . John McCain is following in a long line of reckless men who have rolled the dice for a beauty queen.”
Do we really have to do this again?
No sooner was Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the race, and a new woman is in the cross hairs.
On CNN, during a discussion about whether it was appropriate for Palin to accept this job when she has a baby, Dana Bash pointed out it’s unlikely anyone would ask this of a male candidate.
I can’t help wondering if this is a trap. The McCain camp watched and learned as Obama supporters offended Hillary supporters by their treatment of her. The McCainiacs had to know that this group is incapable of behaving, that Palin would bring out their worst instincts.
One top Republican said to me: “Just wait until she is debating Joe Biden and he starts attacking or condescending to her. Hillary voters are going to say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember this.’ “
The McCain camp has already made clear it stands at the ready to scoop up these voters. Yesterday, Palin proudly acknowledged her historic selection, the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the woman who paved the way for her, Geraldine Ferraro.
Ferraro told me she’s excited for another woman to be on a presidential ticket. She sees Palin as a risky choice – but also dismissed the idea that she’s unqualified.
And she rejected the idea that all the so-called “Hillary voters” would be repelled by Palin’s staunch anti-abortion views. These voters know the Senate will have a veto-proof Democratic majority, so that lessens the potency of that issue.
Howard Wolfson, Hillary’s top strategist, said “it won’t help with most Hillary voters, but it could help with some.”
“Some” of 18 million people is what the McCain camp is after.
The other potential trap is luring the Obama campaign onto the “experience” field. The early conventional wisdom says McCain’s pick was boneheaded because it takes the experience issue off the table. But it seems that it has done the opposite: The importance of experience is the topic of the day.
The more Democrats complain about this, the more Republicans can turn it on them and say, “If you are so concerned about the amount of experience of the vice president, what about the top of your ticket?”
Obama’s argument thus far has been that experience isn’t what counts; it’s judgment. By attacking the Republican woman relentlessly on this issue, Democrats are undermining their own man.
Obama Signaled Early That He Was Unlikely To Choose Ex-Rival August 26, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, Uncategorized, vice president.
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By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 26, 2008; Page A01
MOLINE, Ill., Aug. 25 — In a private meeting with Sen. Barack Obama after she conceded the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a request: that he consider her for his vice presidential running mate, but not put her through the charade of being vetted if he was not serious.
Obama told Clinton then it was unlikely he would choose her, people familiar with the conversation said. Obama did not want to lead her on and, after campaigning against her for more than a year, already had a sense that their pairing would not be the right fit.
As Clinton prepares for her address to the Democratic convention Tuesday night, Obama’s decision to pass her over remains central to the ongoing story of their strained relationship. It has also contributed to what associates say has been a difficult emotional period for the former first lady in the two months since ending her bid. One adviser described her as outright “depressed” in July, while another said she was “moving forward” and a third said she has simply been trying to get through November before making decisions about where next to take her life.
Clinton has done second-guessing from time to time, they said, reexamining how certain elements of her primary campaign turned out so badly. She has returned to senatorial tasks such as attending the New York State Fair and digging into Congressional Budget Office reports. Twice this summer, she disappeared on vacation in New York — once to the Hamptons and earlier this month to the Hudson Valley. Both trips went largely unreported, the media crush that followed her for more than a year having been allowed to fade away.
“It’s back to business, just not as usual,” Clinton told her staff members when she got back to work, using a phrase that has become something of a mantra for the vastly reduced team.
The question of how seriously Obama considered tapping Clinton for the ticket has become a source of unhappiness for both sides of late. Clinton was never asked for the official vetting paperwork when other potential running mates were. Obama never invited her to have a real conversation about potentially joining forces, although the two spent time together at several events.
Those revelations, coming as the two camps converged on Denver and Obama chose Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. to join him on the ticket, angered many Clinton supporters who felt she had at least earned the right to greater consideration after winning 18 million primary votes.
The arguments against Obama choosing Clinton were evident from the start: Her campaign, rife with internal struggles, bore no resemblance to his tightly run operation; the two had little personal chemistry; and hard feelings lingered after what had been a bruising primary.
Obama advisers said they did not want to raise expectations for Clinton knowing they would probably be dashed, especially after she asked not to be put through an artificial process.
They also said they had far more information about her than they did the other contenders after doing so much research during the campaign. “We spent an enormous amount of money and time and a full-time unit of people looking under every stone. It wasn’t like we did not know anything about her,” said one senior Obama adviser involved in the process. “And we thought her position on this was pretty reasonable.”
At the same time, aides said, Obama did, in fact, consider whether he should revisit the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket as he went through the selection process.
But in effect, he did not really consider Clinton for the No. 2 spot. Even toward the end of his decision-making process, as he was weighing alternatives and leaning toward Biden, Obama raised the idea of Clinton once more with the close circle of associates helping him make the decision — but ultimately concluded that it was not the correct course. The campaign has declined repeatedly to delve into specifics about exactly what it was that Obama did not feel comfortable with.
People who spoke to both candidates offered slightly conflicting accounts of how their early closed-door conversations went — and some acknowledged that the talks, held in private, may have been interpreted differently by two people who did not see eye-to-eye. Some Clinton allies said she was not as much actively seeking the No. 2 slot as conveying that she was open to it. And people on both sides said it was not clear how forcefully Obama let her know in private that she was not a front-runner, although in public, his reluctance was clear.
On Monday, Obama sought to minimize the issue. “I’ve tried not to have long discussions about short lists, long lists, but I’ve said publicly before and I will repeat again that, you know, Senator Clinton would have been on anybody’s shortlist. And so I took her very seriously,” Obama said in response to a question on the airport tarmac here, during his first question-and-answer session in weeks.
Asked whether Clinton had been specifically on his shortlist, Obama replied: “I think you can draw that conclusion.”
But if Obama thought about reconsidering Clinton, he did not share that with her, and some of her associates said she never had a chance to make the case for how she could help him win. Obama expressed “no interest,” had “no meetings, no conversations, no requests for information, no real consideration whatsoever,” said a Clinton loyalist who talked with her throughout the process.
And so Clinton, aware that she was essentially out of the running, did not dwell on pursuing the vice presidency. She turned to helping Obama campaign where she could, making public appearances on his behalf and raising money for him — before arriving in Denver, where she turned to the mammoth task of persuading her most intransigent supporters to back her former rival.
Obama advisers privately said what the presumptive nominee said aloud: that they were satisfied with her efforts and grateful that she was helping push back against Sen. John McCain, is running an advertisement, titled “Passed Over,” criticizing Obama for not picking Clinton. On Monday, she countered with: “I’m Hillary Clinton, and I do not approve that message.”
Clinton aides said she is genuine in her desire to see Obama elected, and not simply because she is a committed partisan. She has looked for opportunities to help Obama “both because she wants a Democrat in the White House and because she does not want to be blamed if we don’t have one,” one confidante said. “She wants to go above and beyond to ensure that if it doesn’t happen, nobody points the finger at her.”
Clinton is also managing her return to the public eye carefully: She has not done any in-depth interviews and has barely discussed the primaries. That is a stark contrast to her husband, who had angry words about the primaries as recently as July, when he conducted interviews during an annual trip to Africa. Some in Sen. Clinton’s circle said they learned that the former president had begun speaking about politics publicly again only by reading about it in the newspaper, suggesting that the two Clinton operations have drifted apart, back to the state they were in before her presidential bid.
Obama predicted on Monday that Sen. Clinton will deliver “a rousing speech” on Tuesday night. The address has been crafted by a trio of her speechwriters and is expected to “echo the themes of the campaign,” primarily the economic hardships of average Americans. It is not only a coda to her presidential campaign but also a preview of what may lie ahead, as Clinton, in the words of one ally, “finds her niche.”
Clinton has begun thinking about how to harness the support she earned this year and is weighing how to be not only a leader of women but also a populist voice, advisers said. She is likely to write another book. She will stay in the Senate, where she won reelection in 2006, unless another, better opportunity should arise. But there are no signs thus far that she is thinking about the jobs others have mentioned Obama might consider her for, such as a Supreme Court justice.
“She’s emerged from this campaign as an even more powerful force, and she’s going to map out a strategy where she can make a difference in people’s lives,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.), a staunch Clinton advocate during the primaries. McGovern, who traveled with Clinton in the final days of the race, said he had spoken with Clinton on a couple of occasions since then and marveled at her resilience.
“In the aftermath of the election, she has been incredible. I’m not sure I’d have the ability to just pick up all the pieces and go on,” he said. “But I think in a way this campaign has been an education for her. She’s come to appreciate that for a lot of people in this country life is tough and they’re looking for a champion, looking for a voice. And people are counting on her and expecting big things from her even if she’s not going to be the nominee.”
John McCain already trying to capitalize on the anger and discontent of Hillary Clinton supporters over Barack Obama’s decision not to put her on the ticket August 24, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, feminism, gender, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Uncategorized, vice president.
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Here’s an ad just made by the McCain campaign called “Passed Over” specifically directed at Hillary Clinton voters. It looks like the John McCain is already trying to take advantage of the anger and discontent of Hillary Clinton voters especially after Obama’s decision not to choose Hillary Clinton for the VP spot. Obama is going to pay a price for his decision to stiff Hillary Clinton and taking the safe route by choosing Joe Biden. Obama better wake up to the reality of the discontent of these voters because McCain is cynically, but smartly already trying to capitalize on it.
Some in Clinton circle ‘outraged’ August 23, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, feminism, gender, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Uncategorized, vice president.
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CNN Political Ticker; August 23, 2008; Posted: 5:00PM ET
(CNN) — Evan as Hillary Clinton praised the newly-minted Democratic presidential ticket Saturday, some in her circle are furious Barack Obama did not appear to give the New York Democrat serious consideration for the No. 2 spot, or even ask for her consultation on the matter.
“Set aside that Obama said she’d be on anybody’s short list, set aside anybody’s feelings on whether she was deliberately snubbed and the pros and cons of whether it should be her,” a former Clinton strategist told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “Focus on the politics of it and you have about a quarter of Clinton loyalists still not joining the caravan…for God’s sake, not to even make a show of taking her seriously is flatly stupid.”
A top Clinton advisor also told CNN they were “outraged,” over how the process was conducted.
“You can’t put [Obama VP vetters] Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy on an hour plane ride to Chappaqua just to check the box? They should have done it just for the optics,” this person said. “Barack never even said to her, ‘Here’s how I envision the job’– not one discussion with her about [the position].”
“They thought her supporters were mad before? They are really mad now,” this person also said. We knew it was never going to happen but you would have thought they might at least make a show of it.”
Former Clinton strategist Paul Begala echoed similar frustrations on CNN Friday night.
“I think there are a lot of Hillary voters who are going to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, man You said you were going to put her on the short list. You know, you didn’t even vet her. You didn’t call her. You didn’t seek her advice,’” Begala said. “By the way, he didn’t seek President Clinton’s advice either. He’s actually the guy who I think picked the best vice president in American history. You would think maybe you would sort of check in with him.”
Meanwhile, two sources familiar with Obama’s VP search tell CNN’s Roland Martin Clinton was very much under consideration, and it’s wrong for anyone to suggest that she wasn’t.
One of the sources noted the Clintons have lived a very public life, and it’s inconceivable for anyone to think that there really is more that needs to be learned from them by requesting additional paperwork, citing the release of documents by her during the primary season.
The other source said both Holder and Kenndey are very familiar with Sen. Clinton and that there was substantive and lengthy conversations among the Obama team with regards to Clinton as vice president.
Hillary fans come to terms with ticket August 23, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, feminism, gender, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Uncategorized, vice president.
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Politico; by Glenn Thrush & Amie Parnes; August 23, 2008
Hillary Rodham Clinton is urging her followers to back a “purposeful and dynamic” Joe Biden even as some backers, already resentful that she wasn’t even vetted for the slot, detect a whiff of mockery in Obama’s 3 a.m. running mate announcement.
Only about half of former Clinton voters say they’ll back the Illinois senator — and it’s not clear if the Biden choice will attract or alienate those who have yet to embrace Obama. Former Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson predicted her troops would eventually fall in line but suggested that Biden needed to project toughness — as Clinton did — to win over voters.
The question, Wolfson said, is “whether Joe Biden is willing to go after John McCain.”
“I don’t think this will either antagonize or assuage her supporters,” Wolfson added. “Sen. Clinton likes Joe Biden, and I don’t think he said a bad word about her during the entire campaign — there’s no animosity or enmity at all — in that sense he’s a safe pick … . But she’s the only person who was going to automatically bring her supporters back into the fold.”
“In naming my colleague and friend Sen. Joe Biden to be the vice presidential nominee, Sen. Obama has continued in the best traditions for the vice presidency by selecting an exceptionally strong, experienced leader and devoted public servant,” Clinton said in a statement released this morning. “Sen. Biden will be a purposeful and dynamic vice president who will help Sen. Obama both win the presidency and govern this great country.”
Clinton’s hardy troupe of die-hards had hoped against hope until the last minute — and reacted to the announcement that Obama had chosen Biden as his running mate with a mixture of anger, resignation and gallows humor.
Amid reports that Barack Obama’s team hadn’t even bothered to vet Clinton, some of her staunchest supporters were still floating optimistic e-mails on Friday, buoyed by pie-in-the-sky rumors that Obama had swallowed his pride and reached out to the former first lady.
Some passed around a YouTube clip of an old “West Wing” episode in which a Hillary-like Democratic presidential candidate tosses aside his concession speech to force a convention vote — as a nod to his fanatical supporters.
“HRC fans have been electrified by the late buzz on her dark horse potential,” one stalwart supporter BlackBerry-ed this morning. “That is, I haven’t heard anything to indicate that she is under serious consideration, but that hasn’t tamped down the hope.”
The news, when it broke after midnight, was deflating, if unsurprising.
“I believe the overwhelming polling data that Sen. Clinton would have helped Sen. Obama the most to win the election, especially in battleground states,” said Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton and one of Sen. Clinton’s most passionate supporters. “Having said that, I completely support the decision he has made as his alone and will support Joe Biden.”
A former Clinton staffer opined: “Joe’s smart and funny, but this is not exactly an exciting choice.”
After learning that Obama aides sent the text message announcing Biden’s selection just after 3 a.m., some Clinton aides wondered openly if the Obama campaign was mocking Clinton’s famous 3 a.m. ad.
Hillary supporter Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) predicted the move would further anger many of the New York senator’s most hardcore supporters.
“I never thought he would pick Hillary,” she said. “I know politics. Things just don’t happen that way. Hillary knew that. Anyone who thought he would put her on the ticket is just clueless.”
Sanchez said that she had a friend, a staunch Democrat, who is voting for John McCain because “he is so unhappy about what’s happened,” adding that Clinton supporters have encountered a “disconnect” with the Obama campaign.
“They’re not hearing what people have to say,” Sanchez said. “They have no communication with us.”
Asked why Clinton was never seriously considered, one Clinton aide responded with a single word: “Ego.”
Other Clinton backers, some mulling protests in Denver to coincide with the Tuesday roll-call vote, remain bitter and believe Obama traded a possible “Dream Team” for a nightmare ticket.
“It’s a big mistake not to choose her. It’s sad and it’s a sure way to guarantee the Republicans will win,” said Jenny Doggett, founder of counteveryvotecast.org, who has urged Clinton to take her campaign to the convention floor.
“Obama can’t do this on his own. This ticket isn’t going to be able to compete and can’t overcome the lack of unity. Only Hillary can bring them that,” Doggett said.
Tuesday’s ceremonial roll-call vote for Clinton could be a flashpoint for pro-Clinton delegates disappointed by today’s decision. Earlier this week, Politico reported that Clinton adviser Craig Smith was organizing a 40-member “whip team” to keep any demonstrations from getting out of hand. Clinton has said she plans to vote for Obama and won’t urge anyone to vote for her on the first ballot.
“People will be disappointed that it’s not her on the ticket,” said Sam Arora, a former Clinton aide who recently dissolved voteboth.org, which was pushing for a joint ticket. “But we hope that enough time has passed that her supporters have gotten over it and are in a place where they can support the party’s ticket.”
Sanchez, for her part, predicted Clinton would handle herself like a “confident professional” when she addresses the convention on Tuesday night.
“She’ll go in, she’ll wow them and she’ll get out of the way,” Sanchez said.
But that may not sell all of her supporters on an Obama-Biden ticket. A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week found that only half of Clinton supporters are backing the Illinois senator, while 21 percent said they will support McCain. More than a quarter remain undecided.
Still, it’s been weeks since vice presidential aspirations were seriously entertained among Clinton’s inner circle — and the senator has reportedly been telling friends she had little interest in the job.
The few public utterances on the topic from Hillaryland have been of the I-told-you-so variety. Former Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe, who now backs the Illinois senator, recently said, “If [Obama] picks Hillary he gets her 18 million supporters and we would win in a cakewalk and control the White House for 16 years.”
Not everyone in Clinton’s orbit agrees.
“On a personal level, I’m disappointed by the decision,” said a former Clinton staffer. “But on a political level, I don’t think she’d be the best choice. It wouldn’t be a good match. … She brings some baggage and I think the fundamental problem is the Bill factor. The Obama campaign knew they couldn’t control him.”
Obama May Have Played It Too Safe August 23, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Uncategorized, vice president.
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San Francisco Chronicle; by Debra Saunders; August 23, 2008
Joe Biden? I feel the same way I did at the end of the last episode of “The Sopranos.” Sure, some people considered the go-to-black ending nuanced, but as far as I was concerned, the producers punted. They chose a non-ending because they couldn’t decide on a strong ending.
I confess. I thought Barack Obama would pick Hillary Rodham Clinton as his vice presidential running mate, not because he likes her – word is, he doesn’t – but because he needs the backing of the 18 million or so voters who supported her. It would have been the smart move for victory in November. My second wrong guess was Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine – a gutsy pick that would have gone against the punditry argument that Obama had to pick a candidate weighted with experience and may have put Virginia in play. Such a pick would have reinforced Obama’s message of change.
Instead, Obama chose a man who, months ago, was shooting for a third- or fourth-place finish in Iowa – but came in fifth, and dropped out after he failed to garner 1 percent of the vote. The Clinton contingent is not going to like this. And thanks to this extended roll out of the announcement, the ladies will be showing up in Denver having just learned of the arrangement. Hide the ashtrays.
Yes, Biden is considered a statesman with strong foreign-policy credentials. Also, in a political world teeming with craven opportunists, Biden is a very decent man, who has been able to work with Democrats and Republicans. Alas, he also is a statesman with a gift for putting his foot in his mouth in his own backyard. Like the time he quipped that you can’t work in a 7-Eleven unless you have an Indian accent. Or when he said Obama is “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
In picking Biden, Obama clearly decided to play it safe. He may have played it too safe.
Nader predicts Obama to pick Clinton August 20, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader, Uncategorized, vice president.
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POLITICO; by John F. Harris; August 19, 2008
Count Ralph Nader as unimpressed by the crop of supposed finalists to be Barack Obama’s running mate.
The smart pick, according to Nader, is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Nader phoned into Politico Tuesday afternoon to offer his prediction that a surprise nod to Clinton is actually what Obama has in store—never mind the talk of mistrust between the Clintons and Obama.
“He just has to swallow hard and do what JFK did” in picking rival Lyndon Johnson in 1960, said the liberal activist and maverick presidential candidate.
According to Nader’s logic, Obama may dislike Hillary, but will conclude he has no choice but to get over it if he hopes to leave next week’s convention in Denver with a unified party and a decent shot against John McCain in the fall: “The polls show 25 percent of her supporters have not gotten on board.”
“He’s got to be very concerned by the [neck-and-neck] polls and by what happened at Saddleback,” added Nader, referring to the recent candidates forum hosted by evangelist Rick Warren. “He got beat in Saddleback—big time.”
Nader said his own sources—and, to be blunt, they sound a bit sketchy—lead him to believe that Clinton remains in serious consideration. A friend, he said, recently saw Clinton family intimate Vernon Jordan on Martha’s Vineyard and reported the “usually very effusive” Jordan to be suspiciously “tight-lipped.”
Nader said he does not see how Biden, Bayh or Kaine would help Obama politically, and believes the speculation about them is a “smokescreen.” If it’s a traditional white male politician Obama is after, Nader offered, the better pick would be former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, who brings national security heft and could put his home state in play.
It might be tempting for the Obama partisans to brush off Nader’s freelance forecasting, but dismissing him as a crank is a risk. Many Democrats believe he siphoned votes and cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000.
As for his own reading of the vice presidential tarot cards, Nader admitted, “I may have egg on my face in a few days.”
Why Obama Should Pick Hillary August 1, 2008Posted by koreanpower999 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, feminism, gender, Hillary Clinton, Uncategorized, vice president.
The Wall Street Journal; by Lanny J. Davis; July 31, 2008
Picking a vice president is obviously Barack Obama’s decision to make. He must be comfortable with who he picks. Comfort level between a president and vice president may be the most important factor of all.
So I can only offer my argument, based on some facts and subjective impressions, as to why I believe it would be in Sen. Obama’s personal and political interest to select Hillary Rodham Clinton as his vice presidential running mate. Not just to enhance his chances of winning — but, more important, to help him be a more effective president.
Let’s start with one undisputable fact: Sen. Clinton is the only Democrat who gives Sen. Obama a statistically significant boost in any national poll results.
This is not a criticism of other candidates. This is simply a fact — a product of Sen. Clinton’s nearly 18-month national campaign in all 50 states and the 18 million votes she won. The result was a dramatic increase in her favorable ratings across the spectrum, even among some of her most conservative critics.
In late June, polls conducted by The Wall Street Journal/NBC and Fox/Opinion Dynamics — using entirely different samples — both showed Sen. Clinton giving Sen. Obama a +3% bump, pushing him over 51% for the first time, when the two of them were paired against Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney.
Most recently, in nationwide polling on July 22-23, a Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll showed a more dramatic bump of +8% with Sen. Clinton as Sen. Obama’s vice presidential running mate. In a head-on match, it was Sen. Obama 41% to Sen. McCain’s 40% (this was before the intense media coverage of his European trip). But with exactly the same sample, when all voters were presented with the choice of an Obama-Clinton ticket vs. McCain-Romney, the results were Obama-Clinton, 48% (+7%), and McCain-Romney 39% (-1%).
Can Sen. Obama win without Sen. Clinton on the ticket? Yes he can. Majorities favor his views on most of the economic issues. And his European trip was virtually flawless, demonstrating that he can walk, talk and act like a president in foreign affairs and with foreign leaders.
However, with Sen. Clinton on the ticket, I do not believe Sen. Obama can lose. She adds important strength to Sen. Obama’s in the key constituencies of women, blue-collar workers and senior citizens. And, thus, she could tip the balance in such key border states as West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas (not apparently in play for Sen. Obama as of now), as well as in the key battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida.
So, considering this data, why not pick Sen. Clinton? Here are the three most repeated negatives that seem to concern sincere supporters of Sen. Obama the most:
- Sen. Clinton is polarizing and will rev up the Republican base.
In fact, the data proves the reverse is true: Sen. Clinton has little or no effect on Republican preferences in a race against Sen. McCain — and she helps Sen. Obama significantly among Democrats.
According to the July 22-23 Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll, in an Obama-McCain head-on match-up, Sen. Obama gets just 74% of the Democrats and 6% of the Republicans. With Sen. Clinton as his running mate vs. a McCain-Romney ticket, Sen. Obama’s Democratic vote goes up to 86% — a significant 12% increase. As for Republican voters, rather than getting “revved up” because of Hillary’s presence on the ticket, there was no effect at all: The Obama-Clinton ticket gains 3% (from 6% to 9% among Republicans), whereas McCain-Romney gains the same 3% (from 82% to 85%).
So what about independents? An Obama-Clinton ticket appears to gain some strength in this critical swing-voter group. With an Obama-McCain head-on contest, independents are evenly divided, 32%-30%, with Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain. But with an Obama-Clinton ticket vs. a McCain-Romney ticket, the independents favor Obama-Clinton 38%-30% — a statistically significant 6% increase in a crucial voter group.
- Choosing Sen. Clinton would be counter to the Obama message of “new politics” and change.
The simple answer: How can choosing the first woman vice president in the history of the United States be a choice for the status quo? How can choosing someone who can help the future President Obama bring to America its first affordable and effective national health insurance system reinforce the status quo rather than change? The answer is: Older doesn’t mean status quo. Hillary Clinton is a change agent and always has been throughout her public career. Barack Obama selecting her as the first female vice president would reinforce his change message, not detract from it.
- She would not be a team player, and her husband would be a distraction or worse in an Obama White House.
The answer here comes down to knowing Hillary and Bill Clinton as real people, not as cartoon characters. No one who knows either one of them believes there is a shred of truth to this widely held misperception.
Hillary Clinton is the ultimate team player and I have no doubt she would be an invaluable vice president. She knows from firsthand experience the importance of a supportive and involved vice president.
I am certain of this — not just because of my personal friendship with her over 39-plus years, in the best of times and in the worst of times. But also I know — and I believe even her critics would agree — that she is first and foremost a dedicated public servant. And she would do everything, everything, to help her president succeed because by doing so the nation and the American people would benefit. As long as I’ve known her, that has always been her life’s driving goal: public service to help people.
So what about Bill Clinton? Well, what about him? He loves his wife, he loves his country, and he would be 100% dedicated to helping a President Obama in any way the president wished. If that means being quiet and not distracting from the messages or issues the Obama White House is focusing on, Bill Clinton will do whatever it takes to be helpful.
Of course having a former president as the spouse of the vice president in the White House, much less someone with the intellectual power and star quality of Bill Clinton, will be a challenge to a President Obama and his White House. Few can deny that. But the last time I looked, Sen. Obama does pretty well dealing with challenges, even those his closest friends and confidantes are worried about.
In the final analysis, to repeat, this is Sen. Obama’s personal and political decision and he must be comfortable with the choice. I respect that. I honor that. These are my best arguments that it is in his political interest and his future administration’s interest to have Hillary Clinton by his side on the ticket as vice president — as a cheerleader and articulate supporter, as a candid adviser, and as a friend inside the White House with eight years of frontline experience of what it’s like.
Now it’s up to Sen. Obama. Whatever his decision, I will support it.
Mr. Davis is a Washington attorney and former special counsel to President Clinton (1996-98). He was an active supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nominating contest.