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June 10th, 2008
05:30 PM ET

"If elected I will not serve"

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland at a Clinton campaign event in March 2008.
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland at a Clinton campaign event in March 2008.

John King
CNN National Correspondent

In the early stages of the running mate search, one process is rather private, the other very much public.

The more public approach belongs to the Obama Campaign. Members of his search committee are holding meetings with prominent Democrats to solicit ideas and advice, and, it seems, to float a few names...

Retired Marine Gen. James Jones is one of the names said to have come up during meetings this week with Democratic senators on Capitol Hill.

Those sessions are designed to give party leaders a chance to make suggestions, and to give the Obama campaign a chance to show it is reaching out beyond its inner circle for input. Plus it's a time tested tactic in politics to float a name as a "trial balloon" and watch to see how the political world reacts...

One prominent Clinton supporter often mentioned as a potential Obama running mate, Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, said Tuesday he would not accept if asked.

In an interview with NPR's "All Things Considered," Strickland said a promise to campaign vigorously for Obama now that Clinton has suspended her campaign should not be viewed as an effort to win a spot on the ticket.

"Absolutely not," Strickland said. "If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve. So, I don’t know how more crystal clear I can be."

So far, Camp McCain has taken a much more low key approach, though there was a buzz when the Arizona senator had three potential prospects out to his home recently for what the campaign insisted was a "social weekend."

His process is being led by former Reagan White House lawyer A.B. Culvahouse. The two top McCain political operatives involved are campaign manager Rick Davis and senior adviser Charlie Black.

Quietly, Davis and Black have been soliciting advice from top Republican officials, both in Congress and governors, and are known to have spoken to a few prominent party operatives.

"Lots of candid informal advice, good data and a through vetting," is how one McCain insider described the process.

This source said there is no indication a decision is close, and said the "favorites" lists among top campaign aides by no means is sure to reflect Senator McCain's thinking.

Asked for that list anyway, the McCain insider said: "Today I'd handicap– Romney, Portman, Pawlenty and Ridge in that order." As in former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Ohio Congressman and Bush budget director Rob Portman, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania governor and homeland security Secretary Tom Ridge.


Filed under: Barack Obama • John King • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Ok, Don't accept and what is that supposed to mean?
    Don't accept, we got the hint. Strickland is waiting on Hillary's come back he thinks at the Democratic Convention.

    All Strickland supporters remember this, when he comes up for re-election.

    NO Strickland, NO Hillary and NO Bayh for Obama's VP

    June 11, 2008 at 8:54 am |
  2. TESAP. SAVANNAH, GA

    Jeffrey I beg to differ I think Gen Powell would attract some reppublicans and independents........... Speaking as an ethnic person ofcourse.............

    June 11, 2008 at 8:03 am |
  3. Pat M

    Maybe some are reading more into the Governor's comments than are there. I wouldn't be surprised if many Hillary faithfuls would have a similiar response to the question.

    The majority of Democrats will support the Democrat nominee even though it was not their choice as the differences between Obama and Clinton are slight compared to those between the Democrats and Republicans.

    And who in their right mind would vote for McSame,? He has already admitted his lack of knowledge on economics and has already highlighted the same. The Mortgage Crisis will only get worse under his leadership. His Health Program is only for the elite and those who can afford to pay. He will keep the Iraq war going indefinitely and turn a blind eye to Veterans needing Health Care and Financial Assistance. He has no workable education program. And Foreign Countries see him as a joke! – There is the Choice ?

    June 11, 2008 at 7:45 am |
  4. John

    Goomorning Anderson Cooper and to America. This type of split among the party has never happened in history. This is crazy, these politicians are not for the people as you can see. Its not about you guys, its about whats good for the country. I feel that if you guys cant come together as a party you dont need to be a politician. Most of our elected officials dont care what happens to this country as long as it doesnt effect them. We need a overhaul of our entire government. They need to be on a shorter leesh. Bush for example he needs to go to jail or impeachment. He just brought down our entire country. He didnt protect american jobs, gas is outrageous, what possitive did he do for the country, ask yourself people. Remember america Republicans had power for 8 years, its not all Bush fault. Ask yourself do you want republicans in control. .

    June 11, 2008 at 5:52 am |
  5. glenn

    I thoguth race didnt matter. Why cant there be two minorities on a ticket? One balck, one latin, One black , one Jew? If race or background is not an issue, Obama should be allowed to choose Gary Locke (former Gov of Washington and Filipino) and their should be no issue. But its ok to choose two white men? Odd how that works. A female of any race or ehtnic group should not be an issue either. Its interesting how choosing a white candidate doesnt alienate but choosing a latin or Black does. amazing america...amazing.. Lastly , of all the 400 superdelegates that support Obama and the 18 million plus that voted for him, we dwell on one lone superdelegate from Oklahoma? amazing lol. What about the many GOps that still have issue with McCain, but I guess thats not an issue lol. I think both parteis are equally divided since there are a lot of sore losers in both camps.

    June 11, 2008 at 3:42 am |
  6. Mike

    Obama has acknowledged that his choice for VP will be highly scrutinized, more so than McCain's, because there is a shorter overall record. His mantra of "change" would be poorly served by a choice that is perceived as being more about politics than governing. Being a relative outsider to Washington may be seen as a plus, but when elected it may be a negative. McCain will continue to hit hard on Obama's perceived weakness on foreign affairs because that is likely the only strategy where they believe the current climate favors them. Looking at all of the above, there are only a few names that fit the bill. Sam Nunn of Georgia need not be an "attack mode" VP candidate; he can instead be a calming voice of reassurance on international affairs, while later serving the positive role that Mr Cheney did not fill. That he might help in Georgia is true, but is in fact a minor consideration. Tom Daschle is another similarly experienced well-respected man, One can be a voice of change while simultaneously relying on experience of more seasoned elders with the Washington experience to help implement change.

    June 11, 2008 at 12:56 am |
  7. shauna

    Barack Obama/Wesley Clark ticket anyone????

    June 11, 2008 at 12:41 am |
  8. Uche

    It's strange that after gettignthe required delegate to be the nominee for the democratic party. I have not heard a single thing from AC360 or any of CNN's program's about him. All I hear is the continous analysis of HRC's speech. How fair and balanced is it. NO wonder none of HRC's support wants to be Obama's VP. They want to stampede him to pick Hillary, since everybody mentioned are systematically declining and saying they support Obama. What hypocrisy.

    I guess in keeping her delegates, she hopes to make a last effort to woo the delegates at Denver. Suspending her campaign when the primaries have ended is just a way to keep the "light off her" whiile some behind the scene moves are being made. That is why, I believe CNN has kept talking about her qualities and that off Chelsea (Today on AC360). What irony?

    I think nobody will accept being Obama's VP. And Everybody knows the answer but wont be true to themselves.

    June 10, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  9. James

    I sure hope thatMcCain is at least trying to talk to Colin Powell.

    Also, I hope that Obama is talking to an Argyle sock being worn on his right hand.

    June 10, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  10. Vanessa

    I think Condeleza Rice would be a good running mate for McCain. She is intelligent, young, and would attract the female and minority voters that are searching for someone since Clinton is out.

    June 10, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  11. Pancho

    Bush is talking to McCain about who the next Vice President will be. He will let him know when the right time comes.
    We really need to relax and let Bush talk to McCain about it.
    Obama is trying to figure out who to pick and he is asking everyone about it. Once Clinton helps him out he will understand who to pick with confidence. We just need to let them talk about it.

    June 10, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  12. Joan Karner

    Obama's first and only choice should be Hillary, she has earned it and would make a great VP, if not I will vote for McCain. Its really a simple choice.

    June 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  13. Janet,American via Canada

    The Process will be what it will be! Then the One Will Be!

    June 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  14. Jeffrey

    Forget about women and ethnic candidate for Vice President. Two ethnic candidates (President and V.P.) will lose! That will alienate many independent and conservative voters, and definitely, they will vote for McCain. Do not underestimate them. Our best solution for our country is to select Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for Obama’s Vice President! Vladimir Putin made a superb job for rejuvenating Russia from ashes to the rise of world energy superpower. Putin has enormous experiences for security and defense that Obama will need him for these fields. We need Vladimir Putin for our country to rejuvenate our economy. You never find a better V.P. Candidate than Vladimir Putin for Obama’s Vice President!

    June 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  15. Annie Kate

    Some people are satisfied with the job they have and don't want the higher office – there are all sorts of reasons to turn down a higher office. Don't assume its just because Hillary lost.

    It is going to be interesting to see who the vice presidential candidates are on both sides of the aisle. And it would be interesting to know what the main criteria is that each nominee is looking for.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  16. Ivy

    First the Congressman from Oklahoma is supporting Obama just not endorsing because his state went for Hillary. Second if she gives up her delegates by law she can't beg for donors to get her out of debt.

    June 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  17. Ed

    Wow, that Strickland, what an ambitious guy. Guess it's better he be left behind, with an attitude like that, I don't see how he could work with what is possibly one of the best working political teams ever! Talk about sore losers!

    June 10, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  18. Ruth

    There is a detailed story on the Boren (OK) decision not to endorse Obama. Boren is merely being honest about his feelings while others are just pretending to support the poor choice of the Democratic elite.

    Clinton would never try to start anything at the convention because she has learned from the primary election that the Party hacks (see superdelegates) don't have either the brains or the courage to go against the badwagon candidate, Obama.

    I am, however, looking forward to seeing Hillary have her day in the sun and be nominated in Denver just like many other candidates who had much, much lower percentages of the vote than she does when they were nominated.

    June 10, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  19. Carol

    Mari, I agree, and I hope there is a united party. But, I still find it strange that Hillary is hanging on to her delegates – there's got to be a reason for that. The pundits and the Dems have been insisting for months that the party will unite as soon as a nominee is chosen. I don't know why these two (Strickland and Boren) would publically announce that they are still not too crazy about this idea when the Dems are trying to put on their alls-forgiven, happy faces.

    June 10, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  20. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    John,
    Oh well, another one bites the dust. Such is politics.
    The important thing I want to comment on is your marriage to Dana Bash. What a charming couple! Congratulations and best wishes!!! :-)

    June 10, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  21. chris

    John McCain has been in talks with President Bush to figure out who would be McCain's best running mate. Rumor has it a Bush loyalist will be on the ticket. McCain/Bush '08 – we are winning in the world!

    June 10, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  22. Tesa Pinckney in Savannah, GA

    So he won't be picked, and he won't serve....NEXT.....

    June 10, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  23. Mari, Salt Lake City

    People are free, Carol, to endorse or not. I very much doubt that Clinton-supporters would "rumble" at the convention. TRUE DEMOCRATS know, all to well, that ONLY a united party can win.

    June 10, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  24. Eugenia

    I think Caroline Kennedy would be a great running mate.

    2 birds with 1 stone – An African American and female.

    San Francisco, Ca

    June 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm |
  25. ginger

    The Democratics will be fine. One Congressman not endorsing Obama is not a problem. Please feel free to mention all the other's who endorsed Sen. Obama effective 6/3/08.

    And let's not forgot the thousands perhaps even millions of people who are not represented in these polls and forums who will be voting for Sen. Obama come Nov 4, 2008.

    June 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  26. Don in Florida

    People are taking themselves out of the running for VP for a variety of reasons that probably have nothing to do with Obama. It's still early yet. Team Obama is a well oiled political machine with very smart people running it. McCain hasn't a clue to what's about to hit him in November.

    June 10, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  27. Donna in Sebastopol

    I can't wait to see who McShame picks for VP... can you imagine? Teflon John and Plastic Fake Smile Romney.

    June 10, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  28. susan rattray

    I am with Carol – you have to flesh out this story about the congressman from Oklahoma not backing Barack Obama. Just one phrase does your readers an injustice.

    June 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm |
  29. Jolene

    John: Very interesting. I, too, am intriqued with the VP process. I would guess there is a strategy tied to each person on the so-called "short list". It would be helpful to understand the backgrounds of each of them or at least to understand what their strengths are and why they may be on that "favorites" list. Thanks.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    June 10, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  30. Carol

    Instead of the Dems getting together, it seems that they are still split. But it's not just the Hillary supporters, it's elected officials. I just read on CNN's main page that a Congressman from Oklahoma will not endorse Obama.

    I would like to learn more about this. Are there any rumors that there is going to be a rumble at the convention? Is this part of a plan which started with Hillary keeping her delegates? Interesting. Instead of Obama gaining support after his win, it seems that he is losing it.

    June 10, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  31. Cindy

    John,
    It would be very interesting to see the process that each of these men use to select their running mates. Wonder if they really go through the same process or if they look at and do things differently?

    I for one can't wait to see whom they ask to run with them.

    Cindy...Ga.

    June 10, 2008 at 5:40 pm |