Fuzzy Forecast in Search for Presidential Running Mates
Potential VPs are front-page VIPs this presidential election year.
"Never in modern memory have so many eminent people been mentioned for a job that has been compared — unfavorably — to a bucket of warm spit," the Los Angeles Times noted.
Names mentioned in news columns as possible vice presidential nominees include Kaine, Bayh, Biden, Sebelius and Dodd. Don’t forget Clinton. And there’s Romney, Pawlenty, Portman, Ridge, Jindal and Crist.
Cable news commentators and newspaper editorialists have offered their advice on the selection process and made their predictions. Front pages have profiled possible picks.
"The speculation is entertaining for sure and sometimes accurate," The Washington Post’s "Trail" blog noted.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk said the "Buzz on the Webb" was that Virginia Sen. Jim Webb was a favorite on many bloggers’ vice presidential lists. The buzz didn’t last long; Webb removed himself from discussion. The Indianapolis Star amplified an "Obama-Bayh buzz" this month after Barack Obama made a 21-hour stop in Indiana, home of Sen. Evan Bayh.
As for sourcing, some, including the Albuquerque Journal, quote other media. "[Bill] Richardson Still a VP Contender?" the newspaper asked. "Newsweek, Denver Post Think He Is."
Virginia continues to bask in the vice presidential spotlight, as two other politicos from the state are being talked about. Media General News Service sized up Gov. Tim Kaine (a Democrat) and U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (a Republican) in a piece published by the Culpeper Star-Exponent.
Former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, a Democrat, has been on the short list before. "Will Nunn Come Back?" The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s name has been bandied about for some time. But the St. Petersburg Times wondered in early August if Crist had become an also-ran for the Republican ticket, or if he was being "subjected to the kind of microscopic background check performed on the most viable contenders."
The Advocate of Stamford, Conn., quoted independent Democrat Joe Lieberman on his chances of being Sen. John McCain’s No. 2: "Not happening." Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis in June: "I don’t expect to be asked." In July, The Boston Globe said: "Minn. Governor Rides His Rapport With McCain." By August, the St. Paul Pioneer Press covered a Pawlenty speech in D.C.: "If press club was a VP tryout, Pawlenty passed."
"If Sen. Barack Obama popped the question, Sen. Evan Bayh would say yes," The Indianapolis Star said in its July 5 story. The Star noted that Bayh has been "mentioned as a potential running mate in almost every election since 1992."
Of course, all the speculation can be for naught. In 1980, the Chicago Sun-Times declared "It’s Reagan and Ford," inaccurately reporting that former President Gerald Ford was chosen as Ronald Reagan’s running mate. In fact, George H.W. Bush was Reagan’s pick.