Obama Has Selected His Running Mate
Yesterday Barack Obama
that he had selected his running mate.
He just wouldn't say who he or she was. He said: "I want somebody who's independent,
somebody who can push against my preconceived notions and challenge me so we have got a
robust debate in the White House." Could he have picked Dick Cheney? The convention
starts Monday so he'll probably make the announcement today or tomorow.
say McCain will pick Mitt Romney (but see below).
Fusion Tickets: A Bad Idea
Some people are urging Barack Obama to choose Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and
John McCain to pick Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as their Veeps.
Hagel is a Republican, albeit one critical of the war in Iraq.
Lieberman used to be a Democrat until he lost the Democratic primary in 2006 and
then ran and won as an "Independent Democrat." History shows choosing someone not of
can be a disaster.
Case 1: In 1840, Whig William Henry Harrison chose John Tyler as his running mate. Technically, Tyler was a
Whig, but it was a recent and not terribly convincing conversion. Harrison won and his inaugural speech
droned on for two hours on a cold and wet day. He caught pneumonia and died a month later. Tyler became
President and instantly reverted to his old Democratic self, vetoing all the legislation sent to him by
the Whig congressional majority. The Whigs were infuriated.
Case 2: The second fusion ticket was even worse.
In 1864, Republican Abraham Lincoln chose a southern Democrat, Tennessee senator Andrew Johnson, as Veep.
The idea was to attract votes in border states that were still part of the union. Lincoln was
assassinated six weeks after his second term began. Johnson took over and began acting like the
Southern Democrat he was. He clashed with the Republicans in Congress over everything. They wanted
to punish the breakaway states severely and expand the rights of the former slaves. Johnson wanted
no part of this and was happy to allow the southern states to disenfranchise the former slaves.
He strongly opposed the 14th amendment, which grants all Americans equal protection under the law. The
conflict escalated to the point that Congress passed legislation (over his veto) forbidding him from removing from office
any Senate-approved cabinet officer until the Senate had approved his successor. He did it anyway
and was impeached and came within one vote of being convicted for it. He tried to get the Democratic nomination in 1868
If Obama were to pick Hagel and die in office, Hagel would surely govern as the conservative Republican he has always been,
infuriating the Democrats.
If McCain were to pick Lieberman and die in office, Lieberman would surely govern as
the moderate Democrat he has always been. He is pro choice, supports gay rights, and all the rest.
Republicans would be horrified. If a President wants to demonstrate his willingness to work across
the aisle, the best way is to appoint members of the other party to his cabinet. Kennedy, Nixon,
Reagan, and Clinton all had one or more cabinet members from the other party. The big advantage of
this is that a President can still fire a cabinet Secretary who has gone too far; he can't fire
the Vice President.
McCain's Houses Become a Major Issue
John McCain was recently asked how many houses he had and he didn't know. Later, a staff member
said there were at least four.
New data show that
the McCain family owns at least eight houses. All are in his wife's name or in the names of their minor children,
or are owned by trusts or companies they control.
One is their real home, a "ranch" in Sedona, Arizona. In addition they have a three-bedroom condo in Arlington
Virginia, where they live when the Senate is in session and a house in La Jolla, CA, where Cindy McCain's
Politico reports that the McCains also own three condos in Phoenix and two beachfront condos in the
chic suburb of Coronado just outside San Diego.
put the number of McCain's properties at 10.
The Democrats are going to use the fact that McCain has so many houses he can't remember them all to
as totally out of touch with the economic reality facing millions of Americans who don't own
any houses or who own one and are scared to death of losing it.
If he picks Mitt Romney as his running mate, a completely reasonable choice given Romney's experience in
politics and the business community's respect for him, the problem gets much worse. Cindy McCain is worth a mere
$100 million. Romney is worth over $200 million. Obama has had trouble connecting with struggling working class
people in Appalachia. It doesn't take a lot of creativity to imagine the ads Obama will be running in West
Virginia before long: "The people vs. the plutocrats." Even if McCain has already chosen Romney, if the flap
over the houses stays in the news for another week, he may be forced to reconsider and choose someone with a tad
less in the bank, in which case the odds go up for Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).
Colorado Will be a Key Swing State
CQ Politics has a good
on the election in Colorado, which is expected to join the group of key swing states.
Many Colorado voters are attracked to John McCain's "maverick" image. On the other hand, the large
Latino population tends to go for any Democrat. There will be a big battle here, and with the Democratic
convention in Denver (no accident, by the way), the Democrats may get a boost.
New Fact Checking Sites
There are many rumors and a lot of disinformation floating around about both Barack Obama and
John McCain. Two new Websites, Obama Fact Check and
McCain Fact Check try to dispel some of
the falsehoods swirling around each candidate. There are links to them on the
page in case you need them later.
Lots of new polls today.
ARG has a poll out confirming yesterday's Rasmussen poll in New Hampshire: it is a statistical tie there.
Both pollsters put Obama 1 point ahead. Another key swing state is Nevada. Research 2000 has it a statistical
tie there, too, with Obama leading 44% to 43%. Both states have a strong libertarian streak and McCain's
"maverick" image plays well there. Michigan, in contrast, is a bread-and-butter economic issues state,
and Obama is maintaing his lead there. he's ahead 46% to 39% now according to Ann Selzer (who is based in
Des Moines, IA, but occasionally does polls in neighboring states). Even Florida is close again, with
McCain's lead dwindling to 1 point according to a new ARG poll. It looks like quite a few states are going to
be very close again this year. But not all. McCain leads by 23 points in Kansas and Obama leads by 10 in
Minnesota. Even if McCain picks Pawlenty, Minnesota will be a tough nut to crack.
The current electoral vote score is Obama 269 McCain 256. If McCain wins Virginia, it is a tie at 269 to 269.
In that case, the newly elected House of Representatives chooses the President, with each state having one vote.
That means the 53 California representatives vote as a delegation and whoever comes up on top gets California's
one vote. In South Dakota it is easier. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) just sits down and decides who she
wants to vote for. If her state goes for McCain by 30 points, she could still vote for Obama claiming "the
people of South Dakota elected me to represent them because they trust my judgement" but she would be under
immense pressure from both sides. There are other states where there is only one representative who face the
same problem. In Alaska, there is a fierce primary on the Republican side and then a tough general election
battle after than. The issue of how the representative would vote in case of an electoral college tie could
become a campaign issue.
Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming also have a single representative.
We have three Senate polls today, all roughly as expected. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is cruising to an easy
reelection in Kansas. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is well ahead of Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) in New Hampshire, and
Rep. Tom Udall (D) has a big lead over Rep. Steve Pearce (R) in New Mexico.
|| Jim Slattery
|| Pat Roberts*
|| Aug 18
|| Aug 20
| New Hampshire
|| Jeanne Shaheen
|| John Sununu*
|| Aug 18
|| Aug 20
| New Mexico
|| Tom Udall
|| Steve Pearce
|| Aug 20
|| Aug 20
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