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June 4th, 2008
12:53 PM ET

Hillary Clinton for VEEP? Is that a train coming?

Tom Foreman
360° Correspondent

On a train to New York, and I am considering the next move in this unending saga called Election 2008, with the battlefield of the general election suddenly rolling out before us.

Specifically, I'm looking at a pile of newspapers, and paging through websites that are mulling this idea of Clinton as Veep for Obama.

So much talk is being logged around this idea of what she could bring to him, in terms of support, but it seems to me that the evidence of this campaign shows that to be an incomplete way of viewing this situation.

The missing part of this "Hillary on the ticket" idea is the same thing that torpedoed her campaign. It does not address her "negative" factor. There are undeniably people who like her, and might come to Obama if he takes her on as running mate, but many others may be turned away by that very move.

Remember, he has ridden a wave of moderates and young voters, coming out in unprecedented numbers, because he has promised a break with old-fashioned politics. If he runs with her, he runs the risk of repudiating his own message and he could "cap" his upward potential by disaffecting not only those who have already come out, but also any potential new recruits. He would be trying to grab a shaky, and slim advantage among people who, for all their bluster, will probably vote for him anyway; and forsaking the potential of more explosive growth among moderates, independents, and cross-over Republicans.

Considering that McCain is clearly going to play hard for that same moderate middle, I have heard plenty of reasonable Democrats voice concern for months, that making Clinton his Veep could prove suicidal. Not to mention an idea that has been bubbling for a while: Even if he wants to do this, putting Hillary into the Vice Presidency will also open the White House door wide to Bill Clinton, and no president ever has wanted to labor in the shadow of a predecessor, let alone one that is literally looking over his shoulder.

Without question, Obama has his work cut out to draw in Senator Clinton's supporters if he does not make her a running mate. Some will be placated with nothing less. But Obama has outrun her for the nomination by going after the middle, by defying convention, by exciting a sense among many Americans that he is willing to shove aside old party politics; not just as practiced by the Republicans, but also as practiced by the Democrats.

There are good reasons for him to consider Hillary Clinton as a Vice President, but as I rock along on this train beneath a gray sky that must look even grayer to Camp Clinton, I wonder if he will find more, better reasons to look elsewhere for a running mate.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. gvrngrl

    There's no doubt in my mind that Senator Clinton does not seek the VP nominee.
    I fully expect Mrs. Clinton to be the next Governor of NY.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:21 am |
  2. Roland in Dallas

    If the shoe were on the other foot and Hillary had gotten enough delegates to be the presumptive Democratic candidate, do you think she would consider Obama as her running mate for even an instant? All this speculation on her "altruistic" motives for wanting to be the VP in order to strengthen the Democratic ticket is a load of bunk. Face it, she is only about what is good for Hillary and "What Hillary wants" will never have anything to do what is good for this country. Talk about being an elitist!

    June 5, 2008 at 2:48 am |
  3. Steve Cameron

    Hillary's entire handling of the campaign - right to the final moment and beyond - proves that she WOULD make an outstanding VP candidate...

    For John McCain!

    She's doing everything else to smash the Democratic Party and hand McCain the White House, she might as well just change sides because it's all about her, anyhow.

    Sad, very sad.

    June 5, 2008 at 1:51 am |
  4. Vivek Netha

    Why is no one talking about former Virginia governor, Mark Warner as a suitable choice for Vice-President on the democratic ticket? If Obama weren't around, he would have been the most inspiring democratic contender. He's from Virginia – a state the democrats need in the fall and has some experience to speak of having been a popular governor. Most importantly, he would complement Obama's strengths as a politician.

    June 5, 2008 at 1:46 am |
  5. State O'Decline

    I'm worried. Talk about an invitation to an assassination. DON'T DO IT BARACK!

    June 5, 2008 at 1:31 am |
  6. Casey donnell

    yea so thank goodness Jimmy carter knowss wht is going on becasue this wld be a huge mistake Clinton may not be evil but she is the old politics tht obama has always been against

    June 5, 2008 at 1:26 am |
  7. Susan

    Seth –

    I have absolutely horrible things about Hillary Clinton on this blog and many others. Never once have I cried "that's what's wrong with Obama supporters."

    That kind of all inclusive thinking is creating a divide democrats.... and McCain will certainly benefit!

    Take the high road, help your candidate!!

    June 5, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  8. Susan

    Rachel –

    I started out an Obama supporter until I did my homework BEFORE Super Tuesday. Obama's voting record – or lack of – spoke much louder to me than his charismatic oratory style. Like many Clinton supporters, I want a president who takes decisive action on the issues he/she has committed to. I don't want a president who artfully plays to the left, then the right, then back to the left........ then NOT AT ALL. Content is more important than delivery.

    Sure, I think Obama is better than McCain, but I doubt we'll see the "change" everyone hungers for. Obama did little to impact change in the Illinois Senate. He was more concerned with his political career, than addressing hot issues such as abortion. He let the status quo remain the status quo in Illinois. Do you really expect "change" on a national level?? Not while he has a chance of running for a 2nd term!!

    Worse, many of the Obama supporters I've heard aren't even sure of what specific "change" Obama is talking about. They just like the concept, don't care about the details. He looks good, he's a persuasive talker... that's all they need. Forget about our crumbling healthcare system!!

    The idea of a new-kind-of-politician is an OXYMORON. Getting swept up in that thinking – at the expense of a worthwhile candidate – is scary.

    June 5, 2008 at 1:05 am |
  9. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles, California

    As of yesterday..Barack Leads in the National Poll of Polls 52% to 41% Clinton..

    He Leads McSame 48% to 42%

    Adios Hillary...

    June 5, 2008 at 12:54 am |
  10. robert mann

    the federal pardons website describes the typical thinking pattern of a criminal mind , "dominance, entitlement, self justification , displacement of blame, optomistic perception of reality and victum stance .. who does this remind you of.

    vp no , banishment to obscurity , yes

    June 5, 2008 at 12:42 am |
  11. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles, California

    The train left the Station last night.. Hillary was not on board..

    She will be just watching from the sideline...

    She wasted the moment , and disrespected her opponent instead of leading us Democrats in Unity..

    She illustrated why there are certain levels reserved for men.
    Female emotion... poisonous..

    June 5, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  12. jim

    why are the clinton supporters so angry?dont get it

    June 5, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  13. karen

    Of course Hannerty and Buchannon would be "fair" as Phyllis stated. They too underestimated Obama's potential and reality to become the Democratic nominee. It was only a few months ago that Hannity's primary discussion was posted on billboards in my community pleading us to "STOP HILLARY"! Now that she is stopped, her 2 most significant opponents of the press miracously become her "DEFENDERS"! How pathetic.
    Question Phyllis....what is Hillary "hanging in there till August" for? What could you possibly expect to happen? Get this through your thick skull.....OBAMA IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT! The primary season is over and HE WON!
    It's people like you who continue to push this devisive spirit and do everything in your selfish and tunnel-visioned minds to keep this country from moving progressively and positively towards change. Shame on you!

    June 5, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  14. jim

    am really sick of this foolishness,she need to grow up and stop acting like my 10year old daughter

    June 5, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  15. Seth W.

    First, I can't believe that Phyllis Steele just compared Obama to Hitler. That is what's wrong with Hillary supporters. Second, I would like to hear a discussion about Gov. Bill Richardson as VP. He is a latino which will help Obama with that vote, and he will be a big help in the red states in the southwest.

    June 4, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  16. Mark Philp

    What about Obama Edwards ticket? Has no one thought of that!

    June 4, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  17. Ann Twiggs

    Hey, what about Hillary as the next Supreme Court Justice and Bill as Secretary of State?

    June 4, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  18. Memy Selfandi

    There's no animosity between Obama and anyone. Whatever Obama wants he will get. Whatever the black voters want they will get. Obama can do no wrong. His campaign just has to take their time and do it the right way. The media will back whatever he says.

    June 4, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  19. Phyllis Steele

    Hang in there until Aug. Hillary – who knows what other strange friends of Obama will pop up – he has more charisma than Hillary (Hitler was good at inspirational speeches too) but Hillary has the brains and experience.

    The press did a real disservice to Hillary and women in general - no respect!! Who decided to back Obama? Conservative media must have backed him so McCain could be the winner.

    Hannity and Buchanan were the only fair ones to Hillary – much to my surprise. Thank You. Hang on Hillary it may not be over yet.

    June 4, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  20. Mimi

    I believe Obama is going to win with or without Hilary if Americans do not want another George Bush term. I think that some Americans have their own baggage, race may be a factor. If they want to stay in a recession, your jobs going over seas and your taxes going to a unjust war. Go ahead, do not argue when your children or family members go off to a war and do not come back. If they do, they would not be treated with respect with the proper VA insurances towards their health care. Think smart and focus on your pockets.

    It do not hurt Hilary she is rich, matter fact all the candiates is well off and continue even if they are not President. We as Americans need to focus of what is best of our families not race, gender or foolishness. We need to survive and we need a person who will benefit us in the long run.

    Obama is the Democratic nominee and that is it. Time to move on he has the ultimate decision, allow him to pick who he wants he earned it. Hilary or anyone has the right to choose.... He do!!!!

    June 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  21. Lezlie

    I will not vote for Obama unless Hillary is on the ticket!!! You all know I am not alone in this!!!

    June 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  22. Sef

    It would surely be a train wreck. Hillary's nobody's number two it's a role she can't accept even if she takes it. Hubris is her tragic flaw as it is for many. I know it's difficult for a lot of her supporters to diagnose her in earnest, but she truly has too much carry on to travel the Obama express.
    She's the Manchurian candidate molded from partisan Washington. A by-product of 90's Gingrichian political warfare. Obama should avoid her like the plague. Bill's filth will surface like the scum around a public toilet . Republicans will have blue spotted dresses from different women in every add around the country. Then you'll have to deal with their current legal cases and undisclosed financial matters. The only way to counter punch will be with more mud. A tactic outside of Obamas desired repertoire. Then you have to ask the overall question how many of her supporters are really Republicans that were free to vote as the pleased in the primary? How many of her supporters are really willing to risk a McCain white house that would surely lead us into a war with Iran and keep the two wars going? Lastly, How would her presence galvanize the Republican party?

    June 4, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  23. Zee

    Hillary has won more support than any other potential VP could, and she has a substantial following in demographics that Obama does not have. Obama may have run on "change", but 18 million people also said they wanted change that includes Clinton. Obama – Clinton is a winning ticket for November. Obama would be a fool not to unify the party by selecting Clinton as running mate.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  24. Roy B

    Forget Hillary, there are many qualified Democrats that are far less polarizing and would also bring strength in areas that would be helpful.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  25. Aliou FL

    Hillary or any clinton for that matter, is like a poison in a snake. it rarely kills the carrier, but is dangerous for everyone else.

    No one can trust to turn their back on a clinton. they will stab you if they need it to win.

    Vp? never.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  26. nazy

    she lost simply because of arrogant people like roland martin, cafferty and all others.... they all jump on anything was said and turn it into race issue and they all put Hillary down......honestly, CNN helped obama win. this station always made Hillary look bad.... after this VP issue is done, we will watch less CNN..............I wil still watch your show though

    June 4, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  27. Delegate from California

    My Suggestions is this:

    Senator Hillary Clinton should resigned from the Democratics Party and change to Independent and run for President as an independent, and we can really see who is best qualified to be President.

    The party will NOT unified it is already divided by the own party.

    Can you guess who will win?

    June 4, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  28. Martin

    Obama would not pick Clinton as a VP Running Mate,
    does not seem likely?
    He would be better off with someone else?
    A wild card choice might be Dick Gephardt.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  29. Denise

    I think picking Clinton as a running mate would equate political suicide for Obama. For as much as she could bring to the table, her negative contributions much outweight the potential support of her followers. Not only would it be a horrible match in terms of chemistry within the white house, Hilary is just too polarizing. Plus does Obama really want Bill looking over his shoulder with every move? That doesn't really make one think CHANGE. Quite frankly the Clinton name, as sad as it is, does represent much of the DC status quo that Obama is attempting to break from. If he were to chose one of the other primary candidates he'd be smarter to go with Edwards. Edwards would help him appeal to the white male vote he lacks as well as the working class vote whom Edwards' political career has focused before during and after his primary run.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  30. nazy

    good eve AC and Erika.... and all
    I hope she doesnt accept the VP spot to help him..... she is too good for VP position.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  31. Chad

    Hillary is being bullied. Awarding half of the delegate vote to FL and MI would have been perceived as RACIST had Obama been in the lead. This is a clear and overt example of SEXISM.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  32. Delegate from California

    The Democrats have spoken (not the people) and have decided they didn't want the White House in November when they decided that Obama was better qualified than Clinton.

    John McCain would be our next President, don't blame Hillary and her supporters, blame the ignorants that didn't took the time to look at both candidates qualifications and choose the best candidate that is going to change your life, too late now.

    Like it or not we are in for a ride of our lifes and thank you to the Democratic Party and our elected officials for all your support and respecting the VOTE of the people and not yourselfs.

    Delegate from California

    June 4, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  33. Manny

    Hillary for VP is one big mistake for Obama and the DEM/Party. Washington would best be served by having HRC fighting battles in the senate. This is where her power and influence can make a difference for those who want change. HRC as a senator (without Bill) is a doer. After all, HRC did state that she would support Obama, so this would mean that her supporters would follow (one would hope).

    June 4, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  34. Mara

    Oh, for heaven's sake, people! How in the world could Clinton's failure to concede last night "diminish" Obama's historical moment? He won the candidacy. She didn't.
    Here's what she did do. She didn't back down when "everybody" (which translates to the outrageously biased media, who have covered this primary election with such pro-Obama leanings that one wonders how they ever earned degrees in journalism) thought she ought to.
    As long as we're trying to second-guess Clinton's motives (e.g., many of you have said that she's in it for herself and not the country), think about this:
    Do you really want a president who backs down before the fight is over? Eighteen million people were behind her in this very close race, and she promised them that she would fight until the end. This she did, until all the possible avenues for winning the candidacy were exhausted. Could it actually be that she made a promise to her supporters and then kept it? It this really "all about Hillary"? Or is it all about Hillary doing what she said that she would do, which was to stay with her campaign and refuse to concede until the last vote was counted (which, by the way, was not counted until after she made her speech because the polls hadn't closed)?
    I respect and admire her for staying in the fight despite all the biased news coverage and the blatent sexism displayed by the media and by many people who opposed her candidacy. She's tough, and a lot of people didn't like it. I say good for her, and I hope she stays strong. Progress depends on unreasonable people like Hillary Clinton.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:13 pm |
  35. Charlotte

    WE DON'T WANT HER HEALTH CARE!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  36. Charlotte

    No Clinton for VP.
    1) Barack and Bill are both Leos, and two Leos in the same place will start a war over territory. Listen to Jimmy Carter.
    2) Leading cause of death in this country, hospitals and doctors, pharmaceutical companies using the military as guinea pigs for their drugs and vaccines.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  37. Derric R

    Obama/Clinton ticket is not a good choice.
    Clinton does not possess the personality that will do very well in the shadow of a Barrack Obama.
    Please don't ignore that her over assertiveness will cause confusion and controversy, because they have completely different beliefs when it comes to strategies and their views on policy.

    Not a good idea!!!

    Obama needs to be able to focused, and not be swayed by the popular opinion of how the liberal woman vote could affect the outcome .
    Obama needs to stand firm and choose the running mate that best suits his style.

    June 4, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  38. Chris

    After a lot of researching online today, I've found General Eric K. Shinseki to be the most intriguing VP suggested.
    – 4 star general
    – famous for remark to committee before the war in Iraq
    – US Military Academy
    – Duke w/ Master of Art in English Lit
    – former Chief of Staff of the Army
    – Purple Heart

    June 4, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  39. Rachel

    One more thing.

    So far Obama has showed exceptional personal judgement on whole spectrum of issues.

    I am very sure whatever choice he will make it will be in the best interest of this country. I have full trust in his decision!

    June 4, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  40. Patty

    I couldn't confirm "who" said, "the way a man wins shows much of his character, but the way a man loses shows ALL of it!" Unfortunately, this writer who remained loyal to the Clintons throughout the many red flags that were raised by former investment partners, intimate partners and political colleages has now lost all respect for them for their bullying tactics and failure to acknowledge and applaud Presidential Nominee Barack Obama on his legitimate and democratic victory! As Americans, we would find such disrespect for an open and fair election process unacceptable if it occurred in any other country. We should part with Hillary when she is wrong... and she is wrong! Many years ago, Abraham Lincoln reportedly said:

    I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
    Author: Abraham Lincoln

    June 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  41. jack

    All 3 Clintons (and their political hacks) need to be locked up. Did Terry Mc Nut job just announce that a coup d'etat was comming Barracks way by standing on a podium in front of a national TV audience to introduce Hillary as the"next President of the United States".

    Did he not watch as voters (and super delegates) put Obama over what was needed to be the offical " NOMINEE" of the Democrat party?

    This insult should not go unpunished by the DNC. It is time to wash our hands of the politicians of the past (Clintons & Bushes) and adhere to what Barrack has repeated time and time again, TURN THE PAGE on the old ways of Washington.

    June 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  42. Rachel

    I'm tired of the 17 million votes argument.

    i was among those who voted for clinton on Super Tuesday. Yes, I wanted to be a women to have a shot as a president. And yes, Clinton was the most recognizable name on a ballot.

    Then i've heard Barack Obama speaking on a race issue back in March. I got glued to the TV. I realized I forgot how the President should sound like.
    i'm Obama's supporter since then. I'm so enthusiastic about our future!
    So pleeease deduct my voice from your assets, Mrs.Clinton.

    Go Obama!

    June 4, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  43. Annie Kate

    Hillary is out of the race but unfortunately the Clinton bashing goes on. I was proud of Hillary last night as the primary season closed – she is the first woman to have come as close as she did to the Presidential nomination. That in and of itself is a great milestone and paves the way for more determined talented women like her to run for President.

    I hope Hillary returns to the Senate and works now for all the things she wanted to do for the people. It would be a better use of time than running for VP. VP is a figurehead job at best.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 4, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  44. josta

    After last night for me the offer for VP to Hillary Clinton is off, she is not a good loser and she still cannot give credit where credit is earned. Jeff Toobin said it right, but I will not resay the words he said last night to prescribe the Clintons, If she was gracious last night. It would be a dream ticket, but with "simply the best "coming from the speakers she implied, he is second best and that have hurt many people in America and she is justifying her actions as she has justified the way she conducted her whole campaign. She still find that she is entitled to the crown, well we live in a democracy and we have rules and the rules have spoken. Hillary get over it.

    June 4, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  45. PAT KEEN

    I think the pundits on CNN have been unfair to Hillary again. I listened to the same speech they did and I heard a different thing. I as one of her supporters wanted to cheer her on for winning another state. The comments made by Obama's supporters angered me very much and made me less likely to support him. There is such a thing a a gracious winner too. Hillary and Obama are not dividing the party – it is the supporters. Obama's supporters want it all – they have no consideration for the Hillary supporters. They just want to rub our noses in it and think we should just get over it in 5 minutes. They don't think how they would feel if the tables were turned. Would they have come over to Hillary if she would have won? I have been following this from the beginning. At first I was a Obama supporter, but then changed my mind. It wasn't that I didn't think he was patriotic, or that he is black ( My son-in-law who I love and respect very much is black) or his minister, or anything like that. I just felt that Hilary addressed the issues better. I get the impression that he is a talker and Hillary is a do-er.. The country is in such a mess! The last election was such a disappointment to me and I was looking forward to rooting for a Democrat. All this Hillary bashing by the pundits and Obama's supporters is making it very difficult for to come over to their side.
    Give Hillary a break and allow her the time to change gears. She will do as she said she would do and support Oboma. Obama's supporter's should try to make it easy for her instead of making it more difficult. I would like to see him offer Hillary the Vice Presidency and his supporters graciously accept it. It would make me happy and I would be an enthusiastic supporter.
    Patty from Wisconsin

    A Wisconsin Democrat

    June 4, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
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