GOP Strategist and CNN Political Contributor
Sen. Barack Obama, according to a source, has commenced his search for a running mate, which just made things worse for the Democrats – not better. There may be some political benefit to the move - but it is almost certainly a double-edged sword. Rather than help to unify the party behind him, it pushes it toward an almost certain breach.
The news came just hours after Republican John McCain's campaign revealed he would be spending the Memorial Day weekend at his ranch in the company of three potential ticket mates: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
By making his own budding search for a vice president public, Obama has matched McCain in the news cycle, potentially making him seem just as presidential as the Arizona Republican. The problem is that McCain has his nomination sewn up; Obama is still in mid-battle with Hillary Clinton. And, as she will no doubt now acknowledge, nothing in politics is inevitable.
Having won the nomination outright – it's all over but the convention – McCain has the luxury of being able to campaign like an incumbent. He can take his time, appear deliberative and concentrate his efforts on assembling a team that will carry him through to victory.
Obama has no such luxury. Any concerns he may have about presenting a balanced ticket to the American people must also be weighed against the idea that it will help him or hurt him at the Democrats' nominating convention in Denver.
The early talk of a running mate selection team, at this stage of the game, seems to foreclose any chance of a "dream ticket." And so the delegates in Denver will have one more thing to consider while on the convention floor, trying to determine their best option for defeating McCain.
And, of the party leaders who control the delegations that make up the convention, only one is likely to have been selected by Obama to be on the ticket. Which means the rest of them still have a chance to be thrust into the national spotlight by cutting a deal with the Clinton faction. Which, in turn, means Obama would have fewer allies as he works to seal the deal with delegates.
As they say, one step forward, two steps back.
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