“He really wanted [Kansas Gov. Kathleen] Sebelius,” says one Obama insider with knowledge of the Democrat candidate’s vetting process. “And if our European tour had played better here at home, she might have been the pick.”
But, says the insider, the campaign’s internal polling indicated what the public polling indicated — that Obama failed in his European sojourn to build out his foreign policy credentials. “We needed the foreign policy on the bottom of the ticket more than we want to admit,” says the insider.
Sebelius would have helped Obama in several other ways domestically, particularly in the Midwest, where her success as a moderate governor in a borderline “red” state would have perhaps diluted his extreme leftist tendencies.
But beyond his failure to create the impression that he had any foreign policy experience, Obama’s polling also indicated that Sebelius’s presence on the ticket probably further damaged his relationship with Hillary Clinton supporters. “We have enough problems with them as it is. Putting Sebelius on the bottom of the ticket would have been another stick in the eye,” says another adviser.
Yet, say those with knowledge, with all that, Obama would still come back to Sebelius as the first option. And that, say some insiders, indicates the influence inside the campaign of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. Not only do his former aides and advisers fill the top ranks of Obama’s campaign, but Daschle himself is being credited with helping Obama through the selection process, and he steered Obama toward Biden over other options that were on the table, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Evan Bayh.
Bayh, by the way, was less than happy with the use of his name to steer some reporters away from the Biden pick in the days leading up to the announcement. Obama aides had “Obama-Bayh” bumper stickers produced in small numbers and leaked to the press last Friday, and even constructed a rudimentary “About Evan Bayh” web page on the Obama website.
Biden, while helping Obama with his foreign policy experience, also exposes the ticket to a thicket of thorny issues, not the least of which is Biden’s relationship with his brother James, who runs a lobbying shop here in town, where Senator Biden’s son Hunter is also a partner.
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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