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Monday, March 10, 2008

Obama on the Veepstakes

posted by on March 10 at 11:40 AM

In the last few days, Hillary and Bill Clinton have been suggesting that Barack Obama would be a great VP—for Hillary. Today Obama responded at length:

COLUMBUS, Miss — Sen. Barack Obama delivered an animated rebuke today of suggestions from the Clintons in recent days that he could run as her vice president.

“Now first of all with all due respect, with all due respect,” he said here during a town hall meeting. “I won twice as many states as Sen. Clinton. I won more of the popular vote than Sen. Clinton. I have more delegates than Sen. Clinton. So I don’t’ know how someone in second place can offer the vice presidency to someone in first place. If I was in second place I could understand but I am in first place right now.

He referenced comments from Bill Clinton in 1992 that his “most important criteria” for vice president was that person must be ready to be commander in chief.

“They have been spending the last two or three weeks” arguing that he is not ready to be commander in chief, Obama said.

“I don’t understand. If I am not ready, why do you think I would be such a great vice president?” Obama asked the crowd, which gave him a standing ovation during his defense. “I don’t understand.”

“You can’t say he is not ready on day one, then you want him to be your vice president,” Obama continued. “I just want everybody to absolutely clear: I am not running for vice president. I am running to be president of the United States of America.”

RSS icon Comments


Obama - 47356, Hillary - 0

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | March 10, 2008 11:42 AM

Hillary's political machine relies on this kind of contradiction and meta political gaming to win. that's why they said it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 10, 2008 11:45 AM

Glad he's responding... and glad there was no mention how great a VP Clinton would make.

Posted by Marty | March 10, 2008 11:47 AM

Nice comeback.

Posted by Hernandez | March 10, 2008 11:49 AM

Fucking awesome.

Posted by catnextdoor | March 10, 2008 11:49 AM

Hillary would make a great maid.

Posted by do as I command you | March 10, 2008 11:49 AM

The electoral math part was dumb. But the rest was outstanding.

Posted by David Wright | March 10, 2008 11:57 AM

That's what I'm talking about! This is what he needs to do more of - fight back without being negative. There's nothing he said that isn't absolutely, 100 percent-provable truth.

Posted by Georgia Guy | March 10, 2008 12:01 PM

Hilly got pwn3d!

Posted by kebabs | March 10, 2008 12:05 PM

This is a great response. He needs to fight back a bit more. He should not be a douchebag like the Clintons but he needs to hit hard on the comments they make about him that are not true or out of line.

Posted by Suz | March 10, 2008 12:07 PM

Finally. Some balls. He might make a good president, yet.

Posted by Big Sven | March 10, 2008 12:11 PM

If you need someone who is ready to lead on Day 1, why would she select Obama. If the public is saying that they prefer Clinton over Obama because she is ready to lead (and he isn't), she should select someone else to be her VP. Gov Richardson, Sen Bayh, Gov Kain, Wes Clark, etc. would be logical choices for her.

Posted by Fitz | March 10, 2008 12:12 PM

Though the partisan in me says: Suz, how the fuck can suggesting that Obama would be a good veep be "Out of line?" Get a fucking grip. It's not like she said "he'd make a fine city councilman" or something.

Your candidate answered the question well. Very well. Try to emulate his example.

Posted by Big Sven | March 10, 2008 12:14 PM

She's pretty successful with having the media take him off message while attacking his perceived credibility and putting doubts in voters minds. Looks like she's got Karl Rove politics down pat.

Posted by Cato | March 10, 2008 12:15 PM

Sven - I know you're on the fence here, or whatever the fuck you are in this election, but don't play dumb, it's unbecoming of you. She's offering people an out - vote for me and you'll get him, cause he wouldn't be ready on his own, but of course he would be ready if he were my VP because that's the only way I'll get a lot of his voters, because they'll reject me because I can't seem to play nice with other donkeys. She is in fact minimizing him and trying to pull voters by this VP talk, when we all know how unlikely it is.

Posted by E | March 10, 2008 12:21 PM

that was great. he'll make a terrific vp.

Posted by wow | March 10, 2008 12:28 PM

Big Sven @11: Finally. Some balls. He might make a good president, yet.

E @15: Sven - I know you're on the fence here, or whatever the fuck you are in this election, but don't play dumb, it's unbecoming of you. ... She is in fact minimizing him and trying to pull voters by this VP talk, when we all know how unlikely it is.

E, I don't think Big Sven is playing dumb at all here. It's not hard to see that Clinton was trying to marginalize him and, in the process, do a little mind-fuck jujitsu on him. I know for the last few days I've been muttering, "Obama's got to state unequivocally that's he's not interested in being Clinton's VP."

Posted by cressona | March 10, 2008 12:29 PM

brilliant move.

first, it puts the idea that obama would be a good VP (not president) into people's minds. also, it makes clinton look like she's being nice and reaching out. all the while it is but a very subtle back-handed compliment.

second, now, if clinton wins the nomination, obama can't complain if he's not offered the VP position (something i think clinton didn't want to do).

Posted by infrequent | March 10, 2008 12:30 PM

E@15, cressona@16-

Thanks, cress. Yup. I genuinely though Obama gave an awesome, strong-without-being-whiny answer to the standard, not-at-all-out-of-line tactic of saying your opponent would be a great member of your team. He won the point, she lost the point.

But I don't buy into the idea that it was somehow inappropriate of her to suggest that he be her Veep. It's called a "Presumptive Close", and many people, even underdogs, use this tactic.

See, I like both candidates, and want the strongest one to defeat McCain in the fall. Obama just took a step towards making me think that he could be that candidate.

Posted by Big Sven | March 10, 2008 12:35 PM

and, finally, i don't work with monsters!

Posted by max solomon | March 10, 2008 12:36 PM

infrequent @18: second, now, if clinton wins the nomination, obama can't complain if he's not offered the VP position (something i think clinton didn't want to do).

To paraphrase a baseball great... For Obama, getting a VP nod from Hillary would be a bit like kissing one's sister.

(Damn sexist baseball greats.)

Posted by cressona | March 10, 2008 12:37 PM

Do you think Obama will have Snoop Dog to the White House?

Seriously, can we call it a White House if Obama is Pres?

Think about it.

Vote Hillary.

Posted by ecce homo | March 10, 2008 12:37 PM

Actually, he should take Mr. and Mrs. Bill Clinton's offer. Obama, popular as he is, is still a rookie and we haven't seen him handle a crisis or bad times.

Posted by raindrop | March 10, 2008 12:38 PM

Hillary Clinton is still trying to get the nom? She must love to waste money.

Posted by kerri harrop | March 10, 2008 12:39 PM

Okay, let me sort this out:

Security is THE issue, to be "Ready on Day One," and Hilly says Obama doesn't fit the, er, bill.

Then she pivots the next day to say she's open to the idea of having him there, a heartbeat away from that important office...

I'm starting to see a pattern. On the even-numbered days Obama is a naive speech-maker unfit for office; on odd-numbered days, Clinton is "honored" to be running in the race with him and "no matter what happens" America will be just fine (which I assume means SAFE), etc. Or is it the other way around: on odd days he's weak, even days he's worthy of the Vice-Presidency?

Senator Clinton, you're really making it hard for us feminists to disprove those sexist stereotypes, especially about women in power...

Posted by Andy Niable | March 10, 2008 12:46 PM

Cressona would that baseball great be Bear Bryant Alabama'a football coach?

Posted by McG | March 10, 2008 12:48 PM

Andy she said no matter what happens we (she and barrack)would be alright but would the country be?

Posted by McG | March 10, 2008 12:52 PM

She's playing him for her bitch. If Obama wins the Dem nod, he'd better come up with better answers than "she's not being fair!!"

Posted by six shooter | March 10, 2008 12:55 PM

Obama should say this is also his only run for the White House.

And we all know for Hillary she will try again and again, no matter how many times the voters reject her!

Posted by Andrew | March 10, 2008 1:04 PM

Again, I'm still a little puzzled about this whole, she wants him to be her VP thing. Maybe I missed some of her quotes... but I was under the impression that she said a joint ticket is a possibility, but, of course we'd have to decide who would be on top.

She wants that to be her (obviously), but saying that "we'd have to decide" acknowledges that that statement did not mean she was asking Obama to be VP. It meant she wanted to send the message that she was open to both scenarios.

Whether that's actually true or not is a different story, but I think it's weird that everyone's all like "where does she get off asking him to be VP", when that's not what she said.

I personally would love a joint ticket, with whoever wins the delegate race on top. I think the fact that the race is so close indicates that that might be the right thing to do for the party.

Posted by Julie | March 10, 2008 1:05 PM

I'm with Julie on this one. I mean, come on people.

Also Andrew, the voters aren't rejecting Hillary, otherwise she wouldn't still be winning, including the two times she won her US Senate seat.

And I'm in before Will in Seattle says something douchebaggy and completely in character.

Posted by Donolectic | March 10, 2008 1:11 PM

@29. Um, what? You think Obama (who is only 46) won't run again at some time in the future if he loses? But, Hillary, who is 60, will? If anything, I think it would be the reverse.

Posted by Julie | March 10, 2008 1:13 PM

To clarify - when I mean winning, I mean winning states. She is currently behind in the delegate count. Apparently she's going to win a few more too and it's going to be a very very close race.

If we used Andrew's logic, President Bush actually did have political capital after 2004.

Posted by Donolectic | March 10, 2008 1:14 PM

@30: Imagine if Obama accepted. Clinton goes down in flames as she is the only thing that will assuredly turn out the Republican base this fall. Then, she tries again in '12, blaming Obama for '08, because "America just wasn't ready to have a . . . you know . . . one heartbeat away from the White House." No, if she somehow gets the top of the ticket, he needs to walk away and let her lose on her own without bringing him down too. Four more years in the Senate, and no one will be able to complain that he isn't ready.

Posted by kk | March 10, 2008 1:14 PM

To clarify - I mean winning states and delegates. The race is still very close and it sounds like it's going to continue to be very close.

To follow Andrew's logic, President Bush actually did have "political capital" after the 2004 election.

Posted by Donolectic | March 10, 2008 1:16 PM

kk - Reality is calling. Stop making up fantasies in your head and rejoin the world.


Posted by Donolectic | March 10, 2008 1:20 PM

kk -- I still would be in favor of a joint ticket, either way. (1) I think either Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket would beat McCain and (2) Even if it didn't, I don't think Hillary would run again (would be folly if McCain wins to have the exact same match-up in 2012).

The only reasons Obama should turn down the VP slot, in the unlikely scenario that Clinton comes out on top, are if he truly personally hates her or if he wants to keep his "I'm not a Washington insider" status by not associating with the Clintons.

Posted by Julie | March 10, 2008 1:28 PM

kk - You're part of the problem. Please stop.

Posted by Donolectic | March 10, 2008 1:32 PM


Posted by infrequent | March 10, 2008 1:57 PM

Julie @32: I think it was Obama or his wife who said that this is a one-time deal. He will not run again. So, take that FWIW.

Donolectic, kk is not part of the problem, ecce is (see #22).

Posted by Fitz | March 10, 2008 1:58 PM

This is good stuff from Obama.

Posted by Gabriel | March 10, 2008 2:13 PM

Evan Bayh would be an excellent choice for either Obama or Clinton. He's got a good reputation and is a genuinely good guy (I've met him many times over the years)

Not sure if he'd want it, though.

Posted by Wolf | March 10, 2008 2:32 PM

Julie @30. If she wasn't asking him to be her VP, was she asking to be his? That would be even worse.

Posted by boyd main | March 10, 2008 3:58 PM

Lets be real.

We cannot let a black muslim cousin of Saddam Hussein be pres.

Grow up people. This is the real world.

Vote Hillary

Posted by ecce homo | March 10, 2008 5:16 PM

@43 - No. My interpretation of what she said goes something like, hey, the race is close. It's likely that it's going to be close even after all of the primaries and caucuses are done with. Whoever ends up on top should probably consider the other as VP, since it seems like the American people like both of us.

But, whatever. Everyone on Slog is jsut going to interpret it as That Bitch! How Dare she Ask Obama to be Her VP! Or, How Pathetic, She's Asked to be his VP!

Posted by Julie | March 10, 2008 7:27 PM


"Paint the White House black..."

Posted by George Clinton | March 10, 2008 8:46 PM

It seems a fair compromise, what with Whitey being on the moon, and all....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | March 10, 2008 9:33 PM

When I first herd the sound bite from his responce it sat a little off with me. The more I listen to it the more it seems like a sound strategy in responding to the Hillster. We'll see if it works or not. It may take a while for it to sound out but I think it will play out as a good strategy.

Posted by bubbles | March 11, 2008 3:16 AM

Nice response. I think that's exactly how he should be coming back at her.

And I really would be ecstatic to vote for an Obama/Clinton ticket. But not a Clinton/Obama ticket. On top of the ticket, Hillary is just a giant target, and a huge boost to McCain. At the bottom of the ticket, her wonkery and "experience" become an asset to an extremely appealing, inspiring figure.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | March 11, 2008 8:28 AM

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