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First of all, it's probably not a good idea to pick a vice presidential nominee who is under investigation for allegedly firing a law enforcement official for personal reasons. In July, Gov. Palin dismissed her public safety commissioner who refused to fire a state trooper going through a divorce with the Alaska governor's sister. Eep.
Secondly, Palin is by all means a "surprise pick." Yet the coverage of her selection will in no way compete with Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden. And although McCain attempted to stunt coverage of the Democrats' convention by unveiling Palin hours after Obama gave his historic speech, people are still talking about the previous night's explosive activities. Timing is everything, and here it was a bit too early.
Sarah Palin is a 44 year old governor from Alaska. She was the youngest and first female to be elected to that post in Alaska. She has only served two years as governor, but served as mayor in Wasilla City before that.
So...why Sarah Palin?
This choice is pretty ironic seeing how McCain has done nothing but bash Obama for being unexperienced and young. How is he going to defend himself against this? He chose someone that encompasses a lot of what Obama represents: a fresh face, change, something new.
If he chose her hoping to win over Clinton supporters, good luck with that. People did not support Hillary simply based on the fact that she is a woman. They supported her because they liked her and her policies...which were all liberal.
Anatomy is the only commonality between Palin and Clinton. Palin is a conservative and Clinton is liberal, there's no way around that. McCain's camp must not have much faith in female voters if they think they can throw any woman on the ticket and get votes.
Megan Baker: Mitt Romney. He knows his stuff when it comes to the economy. He is popular among the moderate GOP. He probably won't die mid-term. And if you're asking me, he's pretty good looking. If the Republicans want to win and set up another era of Republican presidents, this would probably do the trick. With Romney on the bill, McCain should be able to pick up Colorado and Michigan. And to be honest, I don't think Romney dropped out of the running because he wanted to give up the presidency. I think there was something else in the works...and it would be a good choice for McCain.
Matt Negrin: Charlie Crist. This election, like every stupid election, is about swing states. This year, they are Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan and -- big surprise -- Florida, whose charming governor is perfect for the GOP ticket for no big reason other than his territory. He's more popular in the Sunshine State than early-bird specials at the diner, and has championed a few causes -- like environmental sustainability -- for his constituency. McCain might not win Virginia's 13 electoral votes, or New Hampshire's four. But Florida has 27, and that number is bigger than both of those.
Joshua Sharp: Meg Whitman. Formerly the CEO of eBay, Whitman turned a simple auction site into an international success story. The Princeton graduate (in economics!) brings both economic expertise and executive experience, and her presence on the ticket could entice some Hillary voters -- who have long decided they want Experience on both parts of the ticket -- to vote for the first female vice-president in history. More than anything, though, selecting Whitman would shake up the race and highlight McCain's unconventional style. He started a furious buzz about Whitman just by mentioning her at the Saddleback Joint Forum.
On the same steps where Senator Barack Obama declared his candidacy 19 months ago, Obama introduced Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate on Saturday.
Biden - the former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination - was chosen 10 days ago while Obama was vacationing in Hawaii, according to The New York Times and was first made public through a text message to Obama supporters early Saturday morning.
Naysayers of the Biden choice were quick to highlight what they call a history of "insensitive, stupid, and counter-productive comments," his politics which are "more of the same," and a reputation that risks "alienating the working-class voters Obama so badly needs" (and those were just Bright Hall's own).
At the end of the day, though, Biden is the right choice to do what a vice president needs to do: bolster his running mate on policy issues without upstaging him and drawing away the spotlight.
The text message has been sent! Obiden '08 is the Democratic ticket! Our Bright Hall staffers weigh in on the decision. Click here for our Veepstakes archive.
Megan Baker: Biden's scathing remarks about Obama back in the good 'ol primary days are going to come back and bite Obama's campaign in the, well, you know...In fact, McCain's camp has already released an ad campaign featuring Biden saying he does not think Obama is "ready" to be president and that he would be "honored to run with or against McCain." Ouch. Biden has the foreign policy experience to help out Obama, but he is also more of the same, which will kind of hurt Obama's message of change. I still think Bayh would have been a better choice with his experience in economics, but Biden isn't too bad of a choice in the end. At least he didn't pick Hillary, right?
Joshua Sharp: Biden is a gift that keeps on giving -- for Republicans. His track record of insensitive, stupid, and counter-productive comments is well-known. More importantly, though, this pick shows that even Obama wants "Experience" over "Change." No matter who is president, the next Administration will have to fill positions in the White House, and Obama has shown he's willing to pick the ultimate "Washington insider" -- a Senator spanning four decades -- over any agent of change. Obama likes to allege that John McCain has been in Washington too long. Joe Biden has been there a decade longer.
Matt Negrin: The folly of the Biden selection lies only in who Obama passed over as his running mate. It is admirable in choosing someone from a non-battleground state, enforcing the idea that the Delaware senator's policies count more than his territory and political convenience. However, Biden's ideas are moot if the pair lose sin November, especially if states like Virginia (Kaine), Indiana (Bayh) and New Mexico (Richardson) and other western states don't vote Democrat.
I wouldn't be so concerned about Biden's previous and so-called gaffes in which he said Obama isn't ready to lead, or that he's the first clean and articulate black presidential candidate. I'd be more worried about his arrogance alienating the working-class voters Obama so badly needs.
Finally, Obama could have done worse. He could have gone with Clinton.
Joshua Sharp: Bill Richardson. Richardson has experience in key areas: energy, foreign policy, and executive leadership, to name a few. He's been a member of Congress, Secretary of Energy, ambassador to the U.N. and Governor of New Mexico. Richardson is widely respected across party lines, and can help the ticket in the West and among Hispanics. He only has to shave that beard.
Megan Baker: Evan Bayh. Bayh has that white middle class appeal that some say Obama simply does not have. He is currently a senator in Indiana, which could swing Democrat for the first time since 1964 if Bayh is in the VP spot. He also has expansive experience in economics, as he is a member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. He is moderate enough for those skeptical voters, but is someone that most Obama supporters should be happy with, if they can forgive him for supporting Senator Clinton in the primary.
Matt Negrin: Bill Richardson -- As if there's any other choice. The New Mexico governor fits with Obama's theme of changing Washington politics. During the early presidential debates, Richardson portrayed himself as the perfect outsider with unmatched diplomacy, total knowledge of the world and a resume to match it. But that's all meaningless compared to his territory; big wins in the West are a sure win for the Obama campaign.
JJ Colao: Tim Kaine -- Alright, if I was a betting man I might not put the keys to the Ferrari on the line for this guy, but he's still a damn good pick and I'm hoping he gets the call. He supported Obama before it was cool and enjoys substantial popularity as the governor of Virginia, that traditionally conservative swing state with a lot more votes than New Mexico. He's Harvard Law with a working class background, worked with Jesuits in Honduras, and might help Obama in neighboring North Carolina too - that's twenty-eight electoral votes right there which effectively nullify a potential McCain win in Florida. The math is just too beautiful. Kaine Train for Veep, no doubt.
There's a lot happening in August in the political world. Republican attack ads are heating up. Democrats are admitting they had affairs with campaign workers. The Green Party may still not know who its nominee is.
Also, there's some half-war in Georgia, and some international sports contest in China that stretches until Aug. 24. It's a big deal -- everyone's there, even President Bush.
And as soon as the Olympics end, the Democratic National Convention begins -- the next day, in fact. That leaves very little time for both political parties to announce their vice-presidential picks.
Senator Obama hosted a panel with experts today to discuss the security issues of modern times, focusing on how to prevent terrorist attacks and how to prepare if they do occur. Indiana senator Evan Bayh (pronounced "bye") was a participant in this discussion.
After the discussion, there was a press conference, and the press were buzzing with vice presidential talk. Bayh, who was a Hillary supporter in the primaries, has since said that he would support Obama in the general election and that questions pertaining to his potential running mate status were "good for my ego."
Obama has spoken highly of Bayh, calling him "one of the finest senators, prior to that one of the finest governors that we've had in the country."
There is no other good reason for John McCain to pick Charlie Crist as his running mate than the fact that he is the governor of the most important swing state,
Before we get to why that's so important, first know that Crist is not the most qualified politician on McCain's short list of running mates. He has been governor for fewer than two years. He failed the bar exam twice before eventually making it to the Florida Senate in 1992. Does he have any experience in the U.S. Senate? Sort of: He lost the 1998 election by 26 percent to Democrat Bob Graham.
He was, however, the state's attorney general from 2003 to 2007, and has previous legal experience in minor league baseball and his own private practice.
Which brings us to why none of this matters:
Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race even though he had a decent amount of delegates. Why did he do it? Well, he said it was for the good of the party...but maybe it will work out in his favor as well. Romney has said that he would be "honored" to be Senator McCain's running mate. Kind of surprising after their blatant displays of disagreement on some issues.
Romney may be a little too conservative for McCain's taste, but it would be a good compromise, especially when it comes to the economy.
Rob Portman isn't exactly a household name, but he could be soon. The former Ohio congressman is rumored to be in the top tier of John McCain's potential running mates.
Besides his time in Congress, Portman has served as U.S. trade ambassador and director of the Office of Management and Budget. He has a solid conservative record and clear economic expertise, with bipartisan respect to boot. That he's from a swing state doesn't hurt, either.
During his 12 years in Congress, Portman landed a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and became Vice Chair of the House Budget Committee. As U.S. trade representative, he helped orchestrate the passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, before being tapped to lead the White House budget office.
When Portman resigned that post in June 2007, Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, expressed regret.
"He is a person of credibility and decency who commanded respect on both sides of the aisle," Conrad said, according to the New York Times.
Bill Richardson, who spent years building a scrappy reputation as an international envoy before he was elected governor of New Mexico, probably figured he wouldn't get the Democratic nod for president in early January, when he earned only 5 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and 2 percent in Iowa, finishing fourth.
Here's a guy who spent 14 years in Congress, and while there, visited North Korea, Cuba and India in addition to a number of Central American and African nations. It was fitting that former President Clinton named him the country's ambassador to the United Nations in 1997, giving him the chance to negotiate for U.S. interests from the Middle East to