Thanks, but no thanks

Wednesday, August 13th 2008, 4:07 pm
By: News 9

Aug. 13, 2008

By Samantha Hayes

WASHINGTON -- The so-called vice presidential short list for Democrat Barack Obama is certainly getting shorter, but not necessarily because he's the one cutting names.

Some prospective VP picks have been making a preemptive strike. Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, who was just named as the keynote speaker during the upcoming Democratic Convention, said in June he would not seek a spot on the Democratic ticket, preferring instead to concentrate on his run for his state's open Senate seat. Current Virginia Senator Jim Webb, a Vietnam veteran, used even stronger words saying "under no circumstances" would he be Obama's vice presidential candidate. And the list gets shorter. Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed has publicly said no, as well as Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who had endorsed Hillary Clinton. At one point, former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards said no to another run at VP, then changed his mind, then just last week admitted to an extra-marital affair. Check him off the list, too. And the one candidate many analysts think would be a slam dunk for Obama, former Vice President Al Gore, has also expressed his disinterest.

That may seem like a long list of those off the short list, but Obama still has plenty of candidates he can choose. The names mentioned most frequently right now are Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Republican senator and outspoken Iraq war critic Chuck Hagel has also been mentioned. Tuesday former Republican Rep. Jim Leach endorsed Obama and suggested Hagel as Obama's number two. While many feel Hagel would be a strong choice, it's difficult to figure out where he stands. Hagel's spokesman says he'd consider a VP invitation from Obama, but will be overseas during the conventions and has "no intention of getting involved in any of the campaigns and is not planning to endorse either candidate."

So perhaps in addition to Obama's short list, there is a "maybe" list and a "long shot" list. One way or another, with the convention around the corner, we'll find out soon who will round out the Democratic ticket.