Obama's VP: Why Not Wait Until Next Wednesday?

By Al Giordano


The more I think of it, there's little reason for soon-to-be Democratic nominee Barack Obama to announce his vice presidential pick before the convention begins in Denver a week from now, and one very good reason to wait - and keep everybody at the edges of their seats - until the second or third night of the convention.

With the campaign giving every American that text-messages the letters "VP" to telephone number 62262 (that's touchtone-speak for "O-B-A-M-A") the simultaneous opportunity to be the "first to know" about his choice (and thus gathering a multitude more of voters whose cell phone numbers are in his database and will be contacted with other news, invitations, fund appeals and requests over the coming months), there would be a distinct advantage to holding off on the announcement until during the convention itself.

From the (nationally televised) stage on Monday and Tuesday nights of the convention, the phone number offer could be announced again and again, netting many more hundreds of thousands of people to link into the Obama text-messaging network and then receive their instant gratification on Wednesday - the day of the pick. (And, after all, which of those millions doesn't get a secret thrill out of getting the confirmed news before the Great Mentioners and middlemen of the national media announce it?)

In fact, I can't think of any really good reason to spill the beans before then. That move would simply suck the oxygen out from Clinton-centric or other "off message" speculation to gain traction or dominate the convention week narrative and would retain a real element of surprise and meaningful theater to the convention itself, upping viewership, and making the eventual choice seem bigger than life: the whole world waiting, together, to find out the news.

The only potential downside of such an extended tease tactic would be if somebody got a photo of a campaign plane or placards being printed with the two names together, thus spoiling the surprise. But there are ways around that, too, simply by providing some decoy "leaks" or photos in which members of the national media announce with authority the name of the VP nominee, but end up proved wrong by the real deal.


Field Hands Update: We're now at 499 Field Hands (members of the network that puts you in contact with each other and facilitates organizing by Field Hand locals throughout the country and the world). Question of the day: Who will be Field Hand #500?

Update: Welcome Field Hands # 500 (Russell Wong) and # 501 (Eric Edenfield) and # 502 (Julie King)!



Your insights make my day. The smile lasts a long time. Gracias.

Soar Sebelius, soar!

Those of us that kept the faith through the long dark weekend of Biden feel our confidence returning as we head into the final stretch - thank you Al! After all, Obama could make his VP pick based upon the next 77 days, or he could base it upon the next 8 years. Go Kathy, go! http://vompolitik.blogspot.com/


I just LOVE this idea! Ok, maybe I was more drawn into your analysis by the picture. Wonder how long it will take for this to go viral?

Just 'dugg' it.

Could it be?


Holding off until Wednesday certainly would provide the most dramatic impact.

I can't help but think that the way this is playing out that the selection may be someone that would universally be applauded by Democrats.   Given the drama (and the possibility of a major letdown), who is the one name that would send us all Democrats over the top with happiness and would "shock the world"?  What name could appear on maybe a million mobile phones all at once?




The Greek tragedy

could go either way the longer this plays out, I suppose. On the one hand, as you say, the VP pick consumes more oxygen than the Clinton catharsis.

On the other hand, the longer this goes the more the two narratives could converge-- he's leading Hillary on, etc. Meanwhile, here's another article that just doesn't get what Obama's doing.

OK I was wondering what to say today

I am not exactly bummed out by the tied Gallup tracking and the PPP results (deadliock) for Ohio, but I was wondering what, if anything to say today. So I will run with this idea and my usual Schweitzer schtick and look in my logs for more montana.gov hits. Thanks, S

Like a lot of people, I've

Like a lot of people, I've been on the edge of my seat waiting to find out who he taps. I've probably switched front-runners 10 times.

I woke up today thinking, "This is the week. This may even be the day."

But after reading your article and mulling it over, I think I can wait another week and a half. If there is anything that Dems need right now it's good political theater. We've got them beat on the issues, now let's put on a show.

Interesting analysis

It would be quite a smart move indeed, keeping everyone in suspense as long as possible.

There's one caveat, though. They would have to backtrack on the original text message in which the Obama campaign announced this plan:

Barack will announce his VP candidate choice through txt message between now & the Conv. Tell everyone to text VP to 62262 to be the first to know! Please forward.

Unless, of course, they mean "between" in an inclusive sense (which would include the time frame of the convention itself), but that's not as the word is generally understood.

If this happens...

...then I think it's gotta be a big name as VP.  One consistent hurdle Obama has is that he's considered "unknown" or "untested" by much of the electorate, and even by many Democrats.

To name another fairly unknown person as VP, like Kaine or Sebelius, would only amplify this problem.  If the announcement of one of these "no-names" comes at the convention, it would result in a collective, "Huh?  Who's that?"  This would be especially dud-inducing after all the excitement and tension a delay like this would cause.

Now if it's a well-known name like Gore or Howard Dean, a delayed announcement would really create a positive wave and get the troops fired up.

So, if they are gonna wait until the convention, it better be worth the wait.


I signed up ... and when I did, I thought these people are brilliant to get me to gladly turn over my cell information. The large scale data collection of this campaign is one of the most stunning sleeper coups going on here.  I think Al has written about it before.  It is almost too much.  I see it as O's independence ticket away from the Demo establishment. And his ability to exert tremendous influence on the tenor of candidates in the future with a mere text endorsement.  

Showing My Age

When I try to text a message to 62262, I get back "invalid phone number." Same when I put it in as an e-mail address.

What am I doing wrong?

Not sure, but

I'm not sure why that doesn't work but you can sign up for the text message at this web page:


Not trying to be a

Not trying to be a hand-wringer, and I think he'll probably win regardless, but for all the inspiration I've gotten from the organizing aspect of Obama's campaign, the candidate and his message has been pretty damn uninspiring since the primary.

I suppose the dullness is to be expected at this point in the race, but I hope he can regain his magic next week and hold on to it through the fall.

One Man's "Magic"

Opper - One man's "magic" is another man's boredom.

It's only natural that Democratic primary supporters of Obama (who skew more liberal and younger than the Independent voters and others that must be convinced for Obama to win in November) would be underwhelmed by messages meant, now, more for others.

Much of the "magic" factor - the exciting big rallies and speeches and bold strokes - includes things that more moderate and less political voters are weary of: they've seen flashes in the pan over the years and charisma not only doesn't win the day with them, but can be a turn-off (that's part of what the McCain camp is trying to reinforce with its "celebrity" ad series).

It's just a very big country with demographic and social groups that barely speak to each other, much less listen.

And so the price of winning over newcomers is often not giving the long time supporters the adrenaline rush they crave. Not that the convention won't include some of that for ya, but even much of that show will be very intentionally targeted to whole blocs of voters that are moved by things others of us might not find so moving.

Convention fantasies

I was running the Gore-at-the-convention fantasy for a long while now but the speaker sequence (along w/ the texting and the timing) has convinced me that's less likely: if it is Gore, I think you want that fact settled before the Hill-and-Bill show, because it will significantly affect how they position themselves in relation to the ticket and the party, and how their supporters behave at the convention, roll call, etc.  Schadenfreude lovers might dwell for a moment on the vision of lots of Clinton nostalgia/buyer's remorse suddenly and embarrassingly crushed into oblivion by the far more powerful effect of Gore on the ticket, but I don't think that's a likely or helpful scene at the convention.  The reason these two got their 2 nights and their roll call, I think, is that after the VP announcement these are just big showcases of Obama's power to unite the party, Clintons included, at length, on 2 nights.  We won't hear a word about party unity after the announcement, and recalcitrant Clintonism will be a sideshow--the smart ones will know that, and avoid it.

I know there are other scenarios, but they don't do or explain as much--see for example the confidence of our nominee in CA last night.

It Forces McCain's Hand

Another advantage of this tactic is that it essentially forces McCain to wait until the RNC to announce his VP choice, meaning he only gets one wave of media interest.

Obama can get all the attention he needs, whenever he needs it, just by giving a speech; while McCain is so dull, he only has a few cards to play.  Choosing a running mate and the RNC are the only bumps in attention that he's likely to get.  

McCain held the VP card when he had the chance to use it while Obama was in Europe, and now he may get stuck without getting much benefit from it!  


I was originally thinking they would want to do this to increase suspense and viewership for the convention but I put the idea away after it was phrased that that VP would be announced "between now and the convention" and "before the convention".

The Announcement

Kudos to the Obama team.  They have have thrown so many head fakes that the mediots are spinning themselves in circles trying to guess who the VP pick will be.  It sems every day over the last two weeks they have announced a new front-runner.

Even Leon Panetta can't rein in the PUMAs

BooMan links to a London Times piece that quotes Leon Panetta on what spoiled brats the Clinton dead-enders are being:

Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, was tasked by the Obama campaign this summer with soothing ruffled feelings and helping Hillary loyalists to get over their sense of loss. It has been a demanding assignment.

There is a sense of entitlement that almost seems to be inbred,” Panetta said. “They are convinced Hillary is the one who should be assuming the mantle and it’s tough to crack that.”

Rothschild is the founder of Together4Us, a group formed to “honour” Clinton and the nearly 18m voters who supported her in the primaries. Among its demands were a state-by-state roll-call of votes - a final show of muscle by the vanquished Clinton - and a prime speaking slot for her.

They got what they wanted after Obama caved in last week. Seasoned advisers fear the convention is shaping up to be a divisive Bill and Hillary psycho-drama. “It’s not something that I would have recommended, but they’re trying to bend over backwards as far as they can to accommodate her,” said Panetta. “I’m a little disturbed that this keeps playing out.”

As BooMan says, Lady de Rothschild's love of McCain and dissing of Obama is likely motivated by her obscene wealth and desire for McCain's promised tax breaks for the rich.  If she really was concerned about Hillary's campaign debt, she could pay it off herself without flinching.

I thought this part was already happening, LOL

simply by providing some decoy "leaks" or photos in which members of the national media announce with authority the name of the VP nominee, but end up proved wrong by the real deal.

Or was that the members of Daily Kos who were announcing it with authority? As far as I can tell most of the "flavor of the day" announcements about who is supposedly favored have no source other than somebody pulled it out of their you-know-where.

It does feel a bit like we are back where we started, but we are a week closer to the convention now and still no one knows anything. Very well played indeed by the Obama campaign.

Now if somebody could just send an industrial strength dose of Chicken Little vaccine to Daily Kos...

Needing a vaccine

 Yesterday, we did a community works project across the street from my house. I wanted to call it Obama works but some of the neighbors balked; there were many in our little community who showed up to help paint the elderly couple's home.  After we finished one of my old friends (from my NHRA racing background) who also happens to own a beach vacation home here, came over for a beer, after spending some time catching up I asked him where he was politically. His exact words "Yeah, I saw your Obama signs; you do not want to go there with me, I am a die-hard Republican, I have donated to McCain (who I don't really like) but, I could never, I mean never vote for a  black muslim". OMG, I really like this friend and am shocked that he is not only a right winger, but racist too. I spent some time trying to debunk the muslim meme but he is definitely a lost cause. He even used the N word. He knew it upset me and he apologized for the word but not for his political views.Ugh!

I hope there are not too many of these types left to take the election again. I had hoped the nation had come further than this.

Al, I hear ya

I guess I'd just like to see more energy and aggression from the candidate. I'll gladly suffer the boredom of watching Obama suck up to the likes of Rick Warren and T. Boone Pickens if it earns him a victory in the fall, but can a brother at least get something to sink his teeth into? A sustained, effective attack against McCain, perhaps?

The skinny-kid-with-a-funny-name is damn good when he's shaping the narrative and going after the other side, but it does seem like he has to get slapped around a bit before he realizes it's time to go on offense.

@ Agoram Muthukumaran

An even better, more factual, and more global understanding of the Georgia/South Ossetia/Russia conflict is rendered by F. William Engdahl.


In particular, read "The Puppet Masters Behind Georgia President Saakashvili"

(Engdahl's geopolitical/geoeconomic analyses are first-rate, and he doesn't engage in hyperbole.)

It's Obama's Party

HuffPo is highlighting an article published today in The American Prospect entitled:

Barack Obama might be running on a post-partisan platform, but he is more focused on building the Democratic Party than any other candidate in recent history.

Good read, although I'm not politically astute enough to break it down.


P.S. Agoram, The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard U. turned me onto F William Engdahl; he doesn't disappoint.

I think you've got it right, Al

Another piece of the puzzle that nobody's factored in is that the campaign is also planning on turning all the people that are there at Invesco on the 28th into one giant phone bank, calling people throughout the nation to tune in and watch Obama's speech.

Clearly, a huge part of what they're doing is all about getting eyes on the convention coverage, and I think this is exactly whre the text message idea is going to lead. Everybody is going to get a text message wednesday night, probably a half hour before the VP candidate goes on to speak (much like Team Obama would send out those emails supposedly from Barack himself right before each major primary speech, where he would thank everyone and say he was about to speak, in order to increase the live TV viewership).

For this to work, however, the VP pick is going to be someone that by their name alone will drive people of all walks to run to their TVs when the word starts spreading... which means I also suspect it is going to be somebody a LOT more interesting than Biden, Bayh, etc. It's going to be somebody that EVERYBODY in the country knows.

Hell, I'll admit it. I'm still holding out for Obama/Gore.

Nothing wrong with having

Nothing wrong with having some hope, is there?


Can we take...

...the top picture as any kind of hint?

Exactly the *Wrong* Strategy

Opper - I really disagree. I think that if, as early as August, Obama went savage on McCain the attacks would backfire (much as Senator Clinton's attacks on Obama backfired on her during the primaries).

Much of the convention and the weeks afterward still must be used to introduce the man to the millions upon millions of voters that didn't pay any attention during the primaries or over the summer. If that introduction is perceived as being of a negative person, it will hurt him, not help him.

No, no, no: A brother should not ask for a presidential candidate to serve his desires and whims. However, if you really feel that way, there are scores of bloggers out there that vehemently disagree with me. They're wrong too.

with Alicia & Bryan

"In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

PS: on the plane painting: even Obama's name is not on his plane, except in the website address.  I don't think the paint job will "CHANGE."

Easy solution to prevent leaking.

Refrain from printing, ordering, painting anything with the VP's name until after the announcement.

The delay is worth paying in return for the added eyeballs watching McCain's mythology get ripped to shreds at the convention.

Start ordering merch August 28, bring it out starting in mid September.

Re: Obama's Party

It's always interesting to see what people read into Obama's statements on partisanship. The idea that he's "post-partisan" is entirely a media creation; he's spoken against the nasty tone and style of partisanship, not against the existence of the parties. In the beginning, I was concerned that he was taking the "centrist" line of bipartisanship and compromise for its own sake, which would be worrisome because modern conservatives have thrived on declaring each compromise to be the Democrats' position and demanding a new "compromise" between that and their position. But on reading his actual statements, it was clear that he wasn't advocating finding the mushy middle for the sake of compromise, he was inviting Republicans (particularly Republican voters, rather than legislators) to join us in doing the right things, rather than beginning by compromising on what the right things are.


The one strong theme in Obama's career is that he understands how to get things done, and understands that getting things done isn't all about him. In that light, I find his building on and expanding the Dean infrastructure tremendously heartening.

Ok, fair enough


the "can a brother get. . ." remark was more rhetorical than anything. I'll deal with just about any disappointment (fisa, potentially lame vp choice, etc.), so long as it's part of a winning strategy. I just fear that on the message front, at least, the campaign's looking a bit cautious and conventional.

My fear is that much of the introduction you speak of (to the millions just now paying attention) was shaped by the McCain campaign. Although as I think about it, that probably was going to happen anyway.

Anyway, I have my doubts about the candidate's strategy, but I'll admit that I could be wrong (you continue to make a lot of sense).

Interesting, but I don't think it is a good strategy

Could work.  But only if Hillary Clinton is the veep.  She gets her night on Tuesday and the announcement occurs right after.

But what happens if Hillary gives a powerful speech, and her troops are excited - and still hoping that she gets picked for veep?  If she delivers an impressive performance, and then Obama chooses Biden (or whomever not named HRC), a significant minority within the Democratic party won't like it.  Better to name someone now to give time for the Hillary Clinton people to get past the rage and disappointment.

Gotta go with Anon here--I

Gotta go with Anon here--I thought we were past the Hillary for veep idea, but the convention idea is very risky. Whoever the choice is, some people are going to be deeply disappointed. Letting them play out their deep disappointment in primetime is poor stagecraft, and the Obama team is good at stagecraft. Questions: Why would Gore want to be #2 again? Isn't someone who's been in the White House (Gore or Hillary, or Bill for that matter) a poor symbolic choice for change?

disagree, Anon

This strategy works just fine... but it does hinge on the VP being somebody that the Democratic base -- and Americans overall -- know better than just your average pol.

Few think HRC should really be VP at this point. And quite honestly, if Obama starts making his decisions based on what a very vocal minority (that seem just DYING for a reason to vote for McCain) may or may not like, then he would be as weak as the PUMA's tried to get us to believe.

He's not.

Why not just let us vote for veep a la American Idol?

We could watch each of them give their convention speeches (they're almost all lined up to give one) and then we can text in our vote ;)


HRC and Bill Clinton are not the main event of this convention.

Everyone seems to be overstating the case IMO of people being disappointed about HRC not being the nominee.

She was never the nominee. The Obama camp has agreed to this because it behovves them to make nice IMO. And it is a decent olive branch to Bill and Hillary (especially Bill who seems very bitter.)

At the end of the day: the Obama camp goes over these speeches. Even Bill Clintons' speech. They're going to be positive and supportive of the democratic nominee. They're going to go out of their way to bring HRC folks back to the fold. And they're going to make nice with the VP whomever that may be: and I think it will be Sellibus because it forces Clinton to go on record and talk to her folks about how a glass ceiling will be cracked with another woman.

I think this convention is being prepared with more care than the overseas trip Obama took: and the Obama people have proved they have an eye for detail. So God willing, this will be a slam dunk success for them.

What's VERY interesting and I'd love for you to comment on Al is how much McCain is outspending Obama and still not cracking the 45% mark; this strikes me as worst for the McCain camp if they can't move numbers NOW when they're not facing a spending crunch.

Would love to see more of your thoughts on this post: http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0808/McCain_far_outspending...


@ Christi, we don't have to get every last racist, right winger

Try not to let that fellow get you down. Getting the word out and registering voters can more than make up for that one guy's vote.

I think this strategy of waiting is genious but I do think people will get upset if it's made until after the convention starts, considering what the offer said.

If I were the decisionmaker, I'd do it Thursday night or Friday morning. In a news cycle (before the death of news that is Friday night) but in time to get the VP candidate on tv Sunday morning.

Sebelius looks right. That picture is persuasive.  What a fit, elegant pair they'd make- only to reinforce the ridiculous Obama's too fit to be president meme, which makes me smile.

Democrats only know ONE thing!

Democrats only know one thing and that is how to shoot in a circular firing squad.  Oh and I forget -- THEY KNOW HOW TO LOSE ELECTIONS.

I have known Barack and Michelle for over 12 years now.  Worked on his failed congressional campaign and on his U.S. senate campaign as well.  He could care less about these silly "establishment" democrats and the hand-wringing members of the pajama brigade and their exhortations to "attack, fight, etc..."  These are folks who have never run for student council.  Barack is no push over and he sure as heck knows how to win elections.  I have had a first hand seat to this over the years.


Al is 100% correct in his assessment of both the candidate and his campaign.  I for one come here daily to read his insights and I am thrilled that so many other do too.

I have been a grassroots activists for more years than I can remember and what Barack is going on a national level puts so many to shame.  He will pay no attention to the armchairmen who will be bellowing til November 5th.  And he will win! 

I have several family members who are currently working on the campaign and my brother in law ran the Wisconsin field operations during the primary. While everyone on Tevee and  on the blogs loses their head, the campaign is calm as a cucumber.  It is about NO DRAMA and about NO FEAR.  The two mottos that they live by.

This is going to be so much fun.  I am loving every minute of this improbable journey.


according to Politico...



Key is to pay attention to where Obama campaigns this week to read tea leaves.


He was in New Mexico today.  So, aha, must be Richardson. Will be in Virginia on Wednesday.  So, aha, must be Kaine. Made mention of Sam Nunn on Saturday, so, aha, must be him.  Tomorrow he's going to be in Raleigh, NC.  So what exactly does that mean?

And then some like Dodd have confirmed they were being vetted while others have denied it.  Tea leaves... "tells"... seems like so many headfakes to me.  And in the meantime Drudge is saying that the announcement will come tomorrow morning.  So hang onto your cellphones. 

Short Biden clip

Let me first say that I don't care who Obama picks.  Other than Gore, I have no favorites.  I just found this Biden clip funny. It's less than 30 seconds.


Re: Obama's Party

It truly is his Party .  Read this great article by Dana Goldstein and Ezra Klein of the American Prospect




We'll never reach everyone...

@ Christi:  Girl, I feel your pain!  Fortunately, we HAVE come a long way, but unfortunately, we still have such a long way to go!

My daughter moved to AZ in January to go to medical school, and two times within a week, she was called a "colored girl" on her job!!  (She's 35 years old...I'm a VERY young Mom, tee-hee!)  And the even more sad thing was, the people who called her that weren't really being "mean", they thought that was an APPROPRIATE way to address her...

At an training session she led last week, a participant thought he was giving her a compliment when he said that she reminded him of Samuel L. Jackson!  No, really...he said that! Geez!  We have SUCH a long way to go...

Of course, that just makes her even more determined to turn AZ from Red to Blue...well, part of it anyway...well at least her apartment building...maybe just her apartment...but she is doing GOTV even in AZ...and even when they call her "colored"...

waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!


McCain's Spending...

@Rhoda...McCain HAS to spend that money before he's officially nominated...that's part of the rules for accepting public financing...

another smart move by Obama...BTW, Obama never promised he WOULD take public financing, he promised he would LOOK INTO THE POSSIBILITY, which is exactly what he did, and he made his own decision...

Even (trying to) discount the fact that I'm an Obama supporter, I still marvel at the differences in the commercials...all McShame does is attack Obama...as in "old man yells at clouds"...while Obama's asks us to believe in ourselves, not in him...and makes us feel upbeat even when things are bad (ala Reagan), and actually believe that together we can get something done (ala Kennedy)...

waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!


Apparently Drudge Doesn't Agree With You

He (and Marc Ambinder of THE ATLANTIC) are reporting the announcement may come as early as tonight.

Re Drudge story

Cool! The upside is that all the tiresome speculation can be put to rest, and we can begin Phase 2: half the Democratic blogosphere complaining about Obama's choice!

it is kind of shocking

@ christi,

For me it's the shock factor that gets me - not that there are people like that out there, but that someone close to me might be like that... how did I not know?

My very conservative-republican-born again sister lives in Denver and wrote me a few months ago asking if I thought "the locals" would riot in Denver if the superdelegates gave the nomination to Hillary after the voters gave it to Barack.

This was not a conversation to have by email, so I waited a few days and called her up.  I brought the conversation around to the email and asked about what she meant by "the locals". Sure enough, that was code for black people.

And another friend really likes Barack - she proudly uses the Obama keychain I gave her and asked if I had another one after hers broke.  But one day during the primaries told me she loves Barack but asked me if I thought the black people would rise up and take over everything if he got elected.

In both instances I was taken completely by surprise.  I have concluded that fear is the last thing to go. I want Barack in office because I think he may well be the best president, ever, and I believe he is our only hope for saving our screwed up world.  But one unintended consequence is that I think alot of people who are afraid will have a change of heart and - to borrow a phrase - I think we will find that we have taken one giant step for mankind.

P.S.  Still really hoping our VP is Kathleen Sebelius!


Ambers seems to be saying that it won't come tonight.

re: Short Biden Clip

Thanks for posting that.  I just loved the ironic look at the end.  Made me feel better about Biden, if by chance he gets the nod.  

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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