VP Tote Board: Process of Elimination?

By Al Giordano

Jay Newton-Small over at Time magazine's online Swampland is doing similar "process of elimination" math as we've been doing here regarding Obama's vice presidential pick. Her logic - which is sound - is that if someone already has a speaking slot at the Democratic convention it's less likely he or she will also be the grand focus of Wednesday night's vice presidential rollout. Here's her list:


Sebelius (speaking)

Clinton (speaking)

Warner (keynote speaker)









Strickland (speaking, took himself out)

Webb (took himself out)


John Edwards (took himself out)

Podesta (hosting a brunch)

Napolitano (hosting a women governor's event)

Chet Edwards

McCaskill (speaking)


Field Notes:

People who "took themselves out" could still cause a surprise. Don't totally count out Webb quite yet, for example. I also don't rule out Sebelius yet.

There are some names missing from that list:


Gore: He's the 900 pound gorilla in the room, and will certainly have a speaking slot. That it hasn't been announced yet has at least one of my eyebrows raised. Also, with Bill Clinton slated to speak on Wednesday veep night, okay, my other eyebrow is now up, too.

Graham: Nobody from Florida has been put on the convention list yet (add Wexler as the darkest of dark horses for the VP nod).

Chaffee: He's the only (ex) Republican name that's been floated that I take seriously (I really don't see how Obama could sell Hagel or Bloomberg to the party faithful, but the former Rhode Island senator did vote against authorizing the war in Iraq and left the GOP on his own accord. If there's a bipartisan pick it's going to be him.)

Hamilton: The gray eminence from Indiana. He's old but still spry, and he's no Bayh!

Kerry: Those that groan aren't looking at polling data that show he'd be a solid choice that would drive his old friend McCain batshit crazy.

Schweitzer: Mountain west cowboy and social justice libertarian. We love 'im!


A couple more thoughts:

At Obama HQ in Chicago there is already staff hired not just for the vice presidential nominee, but also for the veep's spouse. Is that the "tell" that it won't be a bachelor or bachelorette (such as Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano)?

And the logic of tapping Warner - US Senate candidate in Virginia - as keynoter echoes John Kerry's logic in '04 of giving the keynote slot to help a Democratic US Senate candidate. That was the skinny kid with the big ears from Illinois, of course. And here's a whacked out conspiracy theory to chew on: What if Warner would prefer to be VP than Senator? I don't see it, but, if so, Kaine is set up nicely to take his place in the senate race should there become a vacancy. I still think that if the pick is Virginian it is so much more likely to be Kaine than the other two guys, but thought I would toss that out there for kicks.

I do think a Sunday night, Monday or Tuesday announcement - just as Obama gets back from Hawaii - is most likely, in terms of timing.

And isn't "Greek Drama Week" going according to script quite well? Other than some people in Atlanta and Savannah wondering why the press says they're under attack from Russia (when they look out their windows and see nice summer days instead), McCain can't seem to get any oxygen or exposure unless Obama is on stage, too. Maybe Obama should extend his vacation through November! As Baudrillard theorized, there's something to be said for "presence through absence."

So there's your tote board, gamblers. Bet early and often.

Update: Nate reads into recent statements by Sebelius and others that her veep star could be rising, and says that the choice of Warner-as-keynoter does not bode good omens for a Kaine pick, which he says could end up feeling like "sloppy seconds." (It's a tribute to the discretion of Caroline Kennedy, Eric Holder, Axelrod, Plouffe and company that none of us have a friggin' clue as to what is really going on!)

Update II: Usually the keynote speaker comes on the first night of the convention, but this year the non-cable networks won't be broadcasting it. Thus, it makes sense to put Warner on Tuesday instead of Monday. And as for those that will grouse that he might upstage Senator Clinton on that night, well... that's up to Senator Clinton, who can certainly hold her own next to him. The Clinton fan club has to get used to the reality that there's a new sheriff in town, and the party - while it's still gracefully including them in a big way - doesn't exclusively belong to their faction anymore. I shudder to think of what this convention would look like had the superdelegates overturned the primary results and put the nomination back into the hands of the infighting Clinton machine (and me, out in the streets with Plan Jericho! Missed that rubber bullet, thankfully. And that's the best thing about that lobbyist defender of Colombian death squads Howard Wolfson having a new home at Fox News: we won't have to attend his daily press briefings in Denver!).

Update III: In the comments section, Bonkers floats another plausible contender to complete the tote board:


Dean: A well known name and excellent attack dog who even after a term as DNC chair would reinforce the outside-the-beltway message that is so vital to Obama's chances in November.


Update IV with a bullet!: The Tuesday night convention speakers' list has just grown by leaps and bounds, with Senator Clinton now sharing the night with a bevy of "short lister" Governor: Sebelius, Napolitano, Schweitzer, Rendell, and Strickland in addition to keynoter Warner.

Quick! Who's missing from that list, below? The schedule seems to be, ahem, raising Kaine.


Tuesday night's featured speakers include Convention Co-Chair Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, both early supporters of Barack Obama, who will outline his detailed economic plan to grow the economy, create jobs, restore fairness and expand opportunity.

Governors Ted Strickland of Ohio and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania will discuss how the failed policies of the last eight years have betrayed our values and left an economy out of balance.

Barack Obama believes you can't have a strong economy when you have a weak middle class, and speakers like Senator Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will share how Obama's policies have been directly shaped by the people he has met as he traveled the country.

Building on Obama's New Economy with New Energy message, Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Federico Peña, former Mayor of Denver and Secretary of both Energy and Transportation, will speak about the nexus between energy and the economy and highlight new and innovative policies to help working families in rural, urban and suburban communities.

As announced earlier this week, Mark Warner, former Governor of Virginia, will deliver the Convention's keynote address, and Senator Hillary Clinton, who is a champion for working families and one of the most effective and empathetic voices in the country today, will be the headline prime-time speaker on Tuesday night.

Jeez. When Tuesday night seemed as if it was going to be "That 90s Show" I was harboring a fantasy of sneaking out to the Denver Jazz and Blues Festival that night, and handing over the blogging duties to our mystery guest blogger. But now I guess I'll be blogging it, too!


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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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