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.”