Posted by Brad @ 4:08 pm on July 16th 2008

Obama’s Shrinking Shortlist

You’ll be forgiven if this wasn’t on your political radar, but Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed shocked, SHOCKED, the political world yesterday by turning down the Vice Presidency, despite the fact that it had occurred to nobody that he might be under consideration. Regardless of it’s bizarreness, it does add to a growing list of people who have deliberately and explicitly taken themselves out of the running to join Obama’s ticket—Ted Strickland, Jim Webb, Mark Warner, and now Reed.

All have their reasons, which are probably vastly different, but RCP’s Veep Blog asks the question, why would these candidates go out of their way to get OFF the shortlist? Why wouldn’t being Obama’s #2, at this point, be the most desirable position in the nation for any Democrat? One would think people would be falling all over themselves for the nod, and undoubtedly many are behind the scenes, but above the surface, it seems like more than a few very viable candidates are making it a point to step aside.

My take: I think the four who have done so can easily be chalked up to coincidence (as I said, all have presumably perfectly compelling and independent reasons). Or, it may well be that Obama’s vetters informed them that their services wouldn’t be required, so they’re free to make like they have loftier interests. But still, it’s worth raising an eyebrow to, and if it keeps up, worth pursuing RCP’s line of wondering.


  1. Counter-theory: because they are being strong-armed by the Clinton team.

    All the more reason to go huge with the VP pick, and select someone over whom the Clintons have no leverage.

    Comment by Rojas — 7/16/2008 @ 4:10 pm

  2. Whose being strong-armed, these candidates or the Obama people?

    Man, Whitman would be such a dope VP choice.

    I wonder if it’s even occurred to the Obama campaign.

    Comment by Brad — 7/16/2008 @ 4:19 pm

  3. I was implying that the candidates were being compelled to withdraw their names.

    Comment by Rojas — 7/16/2008 @ 4:47 pm

  4. I think the smartest choice for him politically for VP would be Hagel. The Washington establishment would just LOVE writing that story, though.

    Besides that, I think Obama might be thinking Tim Kaine (someone “new”/”fresh” to the American people like him AND could help bring VA to his side) and Sam Nunn (bring down McCain in GA and win over moderates…)

    Also, just because people like Reed say they are not interested in public does not mean they are saying that in private.

    Comment by Nathaniel — 7/16/2008 @ 10:03 pm

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