The Key to the Right V.P. - Page 3 of 4

The Key to the Right V.P.

this to mean that if Clinton wins the democratic nomination Obama has a good chance to run with her as vice president but if Obama wins it is less likely that he will choose her. Although she has instant name recognition and could help him with blue collar voters the idea that the Clintons will be a distraction to Obama’s campaign is an echoing opinion, says party insiders.

“The key is to pick a running mate that won’t hurt you or overshadow the presidential candidate,” Johnson says. “Barack Obama is talking about bringing change to Washington. You have to remember that Hillary Clinton represents the policies of the past and the same old ways of doing things in Washington, D.C.”

“McCain needs someone who is conservative but not too wildly conservative; someone who is younger, with administrative experience, but not an old hand,” says independent pollster and political analyst John Zogby, president and CEO of Zogby International, a public opinion research company. “McCain’s weakness is the economy. He wants someone who brings economic strength, is not going to divide the party and who will be a peace offering to help make [amends] with the conservative party.”
If elected, McCain’s age will be 72, causing many to believe that his would be a one-term presidency. “Whoever he selects has to be younger than him and someone who can be poised as the next leader for the Republican Party,” Johnson says.

Pundits suggest McCain will pick someone to the center or middle, based on what independents are looking for. “He won’t go to the left because he is already seen as a maverick Republican. That means ideologically he might probably look for someone a little bit more conservative than he is,” Lee says. “McCain has always had a problem convincing conservative Republicans that he is conservative enough.”

An open-ended Gallup poll asked Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who they would like to see as McCain’s running mate. Huckabee led the pack with 18%, followed by Mitt Romney (15%), Condoleezza Rice (8%), and Fred Thompson (4%).

“Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee would help consolidate McCain’s problems with Christian evangelic voters,” Johnson says. Still, Huckabee’s refusal to drop out of the Republican nominee process may have hurt his chances to be chosen as vice president. Some saw his continued trek contrary to evidence of an inevitable loss as a sign of poor judgment that also might have ruffled McCain’s feathers.

Arkansas is a Republican state, so there is no need for McCain to put Huckabee on the ticket as a means to win that state. Likewise, although McCain is less than popular with social conservatives, polls suggest evangelical Christians will likely vote Republican with or without Huckabee, if Obama is the opponent. “Mitt Romney, would help McCain consolidate the conservative base,” Johnson says. “Also, he is younger than McCain and fills up the gap in the economy which is seen as one of McCain’s weaker issues.”

Zogby suggests that McCain would avoid Condoleezza Rice since she is the Secretary of State