Saturday, 23 February 2008

The ticket

Hillary closed the debate on Thursday in very strong fashion. Any journalist will tell you that the last word counts double. She managed to get the double score but it is probably a double edged sword. The 'I'll be just fine but it's the American people that I worry for' line strikes me as containing a certain amount of resignation. We'll see how it impacts the polls over the next few days.

Assuming that it doesn't reverse Obama's fortunes in Texas where he is closing fast, the conversation will soon turn to the Vice Presidential candidate. In fact, the Washington Post has started the speculation already.

It would be amazing if Hillary, assuming that she does not manage to turn her campaign around, either is offered or accepts the VP slot. I think this is a real pity no matter how tense the campaign has got. Hillary is a formidable politician and another run at the Presidency is not unimaginable in four or eight years time. She would also be making history by being the first female VP should Obama win....

But realistically it is not on the cards. For now. John Edwards is a strongish candidate. He's been there before running alongside John Kerry last time around. His campaign didn't garner a great deal of support for him other than from the centre-left base. An Obama-Edwards tickets feels too left heavy to withstand the likely Republican attacks on Obama as the most 'liberal', i.e. left-wing, candidate since George McGovern (or even ever!)

Very soon all eyes will start to turn to Bill Richardson. There is an impeccable logic to Richardson that Obama's team are going to find hard to resist. He is Southern and will geographically balance the ticket (even better, he was born in California and is now New Mexican). He is tremendously experienced as a former US Ambassador to the UN and Secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration (the link to the Clinton administration will be a strength in itself.) The UN experience in particular will help to shield Obama from the McCain attacks on national security. Having been a Governor (of New Mexico), he has 'run something.' What may not be obvious is that he is also Hispanic.

Both camps are currently courting Richardson's endorsement. Obama's social calls every three days could well turn to very serious business. He may just want Bill as a running mate.

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