By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Producer
June 9, 2008 – This week with mark another page in history when Sen. Barack Obama embarks on the campaign trail as the only candidate running for the Democratic presidential nomination. But his newly earned status increases speculation of who’ll he’ll pick for the No. 2 spot on his ticket.
Some folks already are weighing in, but Obama, who isn’t tipping his hand, has appointed a three-member panel to bring him a list of candidates for consideration. The panel is made up of former head of Fannie Mae, James A. Johnson; the daughter of President John Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy; and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder.
But supporters of Clinton are wasting no time pushing for the New York senator to co-pilot the Democratic presidential ticket. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the host of the secret meeting with Obama and Clinton last Friday, said on ABC’s “This Week” that she would like to see the “dream ticket,” with both Clinton and Obama, become a reality.
“Hillary Clinton is well known. Certainly, she had the popular vote in this election,” she said. “That is something, and that is something tremendous. Now, I believe the [vice-presidential] nomination is up to [Obama]. I can’t tell him what to do. Nobody else can tell him what to do. All I can say is I agree with [the Pennsylvania Gov.] Ed Rendell, that if you really want a winning ticket, this is it,” she said.
It’s doubtful anyone will influence the Illinois senator’s choice, or that he’ll make a hasty decision. Clinton waited 24 hours before acknowledging that Obama had captured the delegate lead, and only publicly conceded after party leaders exerted political pressure on her to do so.
But on Saturday, Clinton held her last political rally to thank her supporters and give Democratic Party exactly what it needed: a start down the path to party unity. “I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me. You’ll always find me on the front lines of democracy fighting for the future.”
Obama, who took the weekend off, released a statement following Clinton’s speech, saying, “Obviously, I am thrilled and honored to have Sen. Clinton’s support. But more than that, I honor her today for the valiant and historic campaign she has run. She shattered barriers on behalf of my daughters and women everywhere, who now know that there are no limits to their dreams. And she inspired millions with her strength, courage and unyielding commitment to the cause of working Americans.”
Speaking of those “working Americans,” Obama will return to the campaign trial today starting a two-week tour to discuss the economy. His first stop will be Raleigh, N.C. And there is no indication that addressing the running mate position is on the agenda at all.
While Obama works to woo Clinton supporters and White working-class voters over the next few months, his Web site is already on it. The site features a full page thanking Clinton for her support. It reads, “Thanks You Sen. Clinton,” with her photograph placed in the center of the page along with a link for folks to write comments to show their appreciation for the former first lady.
Clinton’s Web site also thanks supporters when they sign on and offers the video of her farewell speech, but in red bold letters the message is clear, “Support Senator Obama today.”
But here are a few of the names being tossed around as Obama’s running mate in addition to Clinton; former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.); Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana; and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.