News & Election Videos

RealClearPolitics VP Watch

RCP Staff

« More Odds For McCain | VP Watch Home Page | Wait, McCain »

Obama Talks VP

On Meet the Press yesterday, Barack Obama had an in-depth conversation with host Tom Brokaw on his VP:

MR. BROKAW: We're back here in London with Senator Barack Obama, who is wrapping up his trip to the Middle East and to Europe, returning to the United States.

And wherever you are, Senator, as you know, all politics is local. Vice presidential candidates, tantalizing to everyone. Recent poll said that, by a factor of about 60 percent, the American people believe that John McCain should have a vice presidential running mate who is strong on the economy. Think it's fair to say that conventional political wisdom in this country is that you need a vice presidential candidate who has very good national security credentials. Is that your number one criteria?

SEN. OBAMA: You know, I hate to do this to you, Tom, but I made a pledge that the next time you heard me talk about vice president it would be to introduce my vice presidential running mate. So here's what I'll tell you: I'm going to want somebody with integrity; I'm going to want somebody with independence, who's willing to tell me where he thinks or she thinks I'm wrong; and I'm, I'm going to want somebody who shares a vision of the country where we need to go, that we've got to fundamentally change not only our policies, but how our politics works, how business is done in Washington. And I think that there are a number of great candidates out there. I'll be selecting one soon enough, and, and I'm sure NBC will be reporting on it.

MR. BROKAW: Are you going to break the old rules? The old rules have been you pick a vice presidential candidate because you need electoral strength in some region and you need somebody who is stronger in some policy area than you are.

SEN. OBAMA: I, I think the most important thing from my perspective is somebody who can help me govern. I want somebody who I'm compatible with, who I can work with, who has a shared vision, who certainly complements me in the sense that they provide a knowledge base or an area of, of expertise that can be useful. Because we're going to have a lot of problems and a lot of work to do, and I'm not interested in a vice president who I just send off to go to funerals. I want somebody who's going to be able to roll up their sleeves and really do some work.

MR. BROKAW: Mike Murphy, who you know is a political consultant primarily for Republicans, is now working with NBC as an analyst, said on this broadcast two weeks ago something very interesting. He said, "Republican Party always has trouble when the Democrats put on the ticket a Southern white male Protestant." Reviewing their short history, that's true--Lyndon Johnson with John Kennedy; Lyndon Johnson running by himself; Jimmy Carter, a man from the South; Bill Clinton and Al Gore, two Southerners running.

SEN. OBAMA: Right.

MR. BROKAW: Will that be a factor in your consideration?

SEN. OBAMA: Tom, you can fish as much as you want. You're not going to get it out of me.

MR. BROKAW: Well, let me--you, you had a conversation with a prominent Hillary fundraiser that got reported in the Los Angeles Times, in which she asked you--she's still a fan of, of Hillary, and she said...

SEN. OBAMA: So am I.

MR. BROKAW: And is she on your list?

SEN. OBAMA: I think Hillary Clinton--I've said--this one I can actually answer, because I've said consistently that I think Hillary Clinton would be on anybody's short list. She, she is one of the most effective, intelligent, courageous leaders that we have in the Democratic Party.

MR. BROKAW: And according to the woman that you were talking to, you said that "we just don't know what to do about Bill," or something to that effect.

SEN. OBAMA: Oh, you know, I maybe--I think that a lot of conversations get characterized. I think that not only do I want Hillary Clinton campaigning with me, I want Bill Clinton, one of the smartest men in the history of politics, involved in our campaign. But I'm not going to, I'm not going to spill the beans here. You, you can, you can do what you want...