The Key to the Right V.P.

Linking the Democratic or Republican nominee with the right vice president could help swing states

and one of the architects of the Iraq war. “In some ways he has to run against Washington. He also has to distance himself from this administration,” Zogby says. “He can’t be seen as too close to the establishment so it makes sense for him to go out to the states and get someone with administrative experience.”

“Florida’s governor Charlie Crist, former Ohio congressman and budget director Rob Portman, and Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty might help McCain carry their states. However, last February, in an interview with The Hill, a congressional newspaper, Portman, 52, made it known that he does not aspire to be the vice presidential nominee.

Lee is quick to note that voters are less likely to remember where Bill Richardson, John Edwards, or Mike Huckabee happened to place in the primaries. “It is a new day. What happened in the primaries is basically history,” Lee says. There has been speculation of an Obama and John Edwards ticket. But Lee adds, “John Edwards’ ability to effectively compete as a candidate does not relate to how he will be perceived as someone sharing a ticket.”

When considering a vice president as a means to win a state, some pundits point to the fact that John Edwards could not bring North Carolina into the Democratic fold in the 2004 presidential election. The public really doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the vice president, Lee says. “It is nice ideologically, and cosmetically it is nice to have that balance, but bottom line—they are voting for the person running for president, not the vice president.”

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