Alexa

Obama VP still a mystery

Obama VP still a mystery

Barack Obama's potential running mates ducked, dodged and semi-denied their way through a day of political intrigue Friday as the Democratic presidential contender readied a text message announcement of his pick for vice president.
Three days before Democrats open their convention in Denver, several officials said Rep. Chet Edwards, whose district includes President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, was a surprise entry on the roster of potential running mates.
Other contenders who have already been mentioned include Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana. The two senators and Edwards fit the mold of running mate with experience in defense or foreign policy _ areas in which Obama is rated relatively poorly in the polls compared with his rival, Republican Sen. John McCain, who has persistently attacked him as an empty celebrity.
The potential vice presidential candidates were playing coy on Friday.
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no, nooooo," Sebelius told reporters who asked for her latest thoughts on the months-long search.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's prospects remained unlikely. Senior aides said the Obama campaign had never requested financial or other records from the former first lady, who Obama beat in a combative Democratic primary.
Officials said the Obama campaign had taken the trouble to print material bearing the names of several potential ticketmates _ minimizing the significance of a report that a printing company in Kansas was churning out signs bearing Bayh's name.
Obama told reporters on Thursday he had made his choice, and aides used the prospect of a text-message announcement to try and attract additional supporters by soliciting their cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Late Friday, several officials said the text message announcement would be distributed Saturday morning, a few hours before a scheduled rally at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, in Obama's home state of Illinois, where the Democratic ticket would appear for the first time.
Edwards, whom House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi had touted as a running mate, told The Associated Press in Waco, Texas, "I have had interactions with the Obama campaign over the last several months but I will not get into details."
Kaine, a moderate governor from a swing state, boarded a private plane at a small airport for a flight that aides said would take him to suburban Denver.
Bayh, a second-term senator, attended tennis camp with one of his sons, while Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, evidently spent the day at his home in Delaware.
"My answer to any question about the subject that I think you're referring to is that all inquiries should be directed at Senator Obama's campaign," said Clinton, the former first lady who came close to capturing the nomination in the combative Democratic primaries of last winter and spring.
Despite the advice, neither Obama nor his aides were saying.
"Obviously, the most important question is: Is this person ready to be president?" Obama told "The Early Show" on CBS. Second, he said, was: "Can this person help me govern? Are they going to be an effective partner in creating the kind of economic opportunity here at home and guiding us through some dangerous waters internationally?"
And, he added: "I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a 'yes person' when it comes to policymaking.
There was no shortage of other speculation, ranging from Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who traveled with Obama to Iraq and Afghanistan, to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, to Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
Edwards, chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, is a nine-term moderate Democrat representing the Republican-leaning Texas district. He is well-known in Texas but does not have a national profile.
Several Republican officials said Friday that McCain had not settled on a running mate, although former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty were under serious consideration. It is likely McCain will wait to see who Obama selects before picking his running mate.
Officials said the campaign also was preparing for an "unconventional" nominee, an indication that oft-mentioned former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, or Connecticut Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman still could be in the running. That category also could include non-politicians whom McCain deeply admires, such as Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
The Republican convention begins Sept. 1 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The two campaigns continued to spin out attack ads Friday, casting each other as elites who could not possibly grasp the needs of common Americans.
McCain on Friday reeled off yet another ad portraying his Democratic rival as nothing more than a celebrity. "Celebrities don't have to worry about family budgets, but we sure do," the announcer states.
Obama, capitalizing on McCain's hesitation when asked in an interview how many houses he owned, countered quickly with his own riposte on cable television. "Maybe McCain thinks this economy is working _ for folks like him."
The negative tone has been increasingly dominating the U.S. air waves, especially after Obama returned from a highly publicized trip to Europe and the Middle East last month to find himself the target of several McCain ads.