Virginia has supplied more presidents to the U.S. than any other state. In 2008, could the state provide the running mate that propels Barack Obama to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? The Old Dominion has seen a shift in demographics that has it trending Democratic, and it features no less than three intriguing running mate possibilities.
Two of the three possible running mates were on the Sunday news shows this morning. Gov. Tim Kaine was on Fox News Sunday, and when he was asked about being Obama’s running mate, he said, “You know, I think probably it would be hard for anybody to say no under a situation like that. But I’m not expecting it, not counting on it, certainly didn’t endorse the senator with any plan to get anything out of it. I just want to help him win, because I think our nation needs change.”
Sen. Jim Webb was on Face the Nation where the same question was posed to him. As has been his habit lately, he answered, “I would leave that to Barack Obama. I’m happy to give him as much advice as I can, and support. I’m not really looking to be in that spot.” Webb’s office has also been turning down any interview request that is solely about the VP speculation. He also has not completely said that he would rule it out. He did mention that Obama will have to put together an executive branch and he needs someone who he is comfortable.
Webb said that his prototype is Daniel Patrick Moynihan the late New York senator who he said combined an intellectual career with a public career. Current U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia governor Mark Warner is third possible Democrat from the state who will get serious consideration. Reports have suggested that Warner would not turn it down if asked. Virginia is not only a key swing state in its own right, but Obama may look to sure up his support there if John McCain decides to select Mitt Romney which would result in Michigan being in play.
Obama’s choice if he decides to look to Virginia mirrors the one he faces in the nation at large. If he wants to pick someone from the state who would emphasize foreign policy and national security than Webb would be the choice, but if he wants domestic policy and the economy than Warner and Kaine are the options. I think it is unlikely that Kaine will be picked because the Lt. Gov. in the state is a Republican, and if winning Virginia is the concern, then Warner would probably get the nod over Webb. Warner has had a longer career in the state, and is much more popular than Webb.
Either Warner or Webb would help Obama address some needs, but it is intriguing that one of three politicians from the same state, which hasn’t voted Democratic in 44 years, could be selected to be on the ticket. There really isn’t a wrong choice here, so it will probably comes down to if Obama wants to concentrate on Virginia, and which of the three he feels most comfortable with. VP choices are always interesting, but it has been decades since there has been a nominee who has had to make a decision that will be as important as Obama’s.