With Barack Obama heading to Hawaii for a week’s vacation in mid August reports are starting to swirl that the Obama camp has cut its list of potential running mates down to four, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Sam Nunn, Gov. Tim Kaine, and Sen. Joe Biden.
The Politico put up a story late this afternoon that named Virginia governor Tim Kaine as the frontrunner to be Obama’s running mate. The story suggests that Kaine is being seriously examined because he could appeal to Virginians, Catholics, working class white voters, and Hispanics.
The drawbacks to selecting Kaine include a lack of experience, and no foreign policy background. Kaine has only been Virginia governor for two and a half years, and his selection could open up the ticket to more experience questions. Judging from this list, it looks like Obama is leaning towards choosing a Washington outsider, which is what he implied on Meet the Press yesterday.
Present in this final four is the choice between change and experience. Both Nunn and Biden bring decades of Washington experience, while Kaine and Sebelius are outsiders who represent change. If the rumors are correct, and McCain picks Romney as his running mate so that he can win Michigan, Obama may have to take Nunn or Kaine in order to flip a red state.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal also featured three of these four names, but I believe if Obama decides to make his choice based on experience, it will be Biden. Nunn would be a safe, but bland choice, and that the Hillary factor prevents Obama from selecting a woman other than Clinton.
I don’t think that Kaine would be a terrible choice, but I don’t see where, outside of Virginia, he helps Obama. Either Biden or Nunn would help the ticket more, by addressing some weaknesses of the candidate. The selection of Kaine would appear to be a move designed to win a swing state, which is a criteria that the Obama campaign has sworn they aren’t using.
If I were to rank this rumored final four, here is what it would look like:
1). Joe Biden
2). Tim Kaine
3). Kathleen Sebelius
4). Sam Nunn