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Obama's Top Four?

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic takes a look at what appear to be the top four potential Obama running mates: Sebelius, Kaine, Bayh, and Biden. He separates them into two groups; the first being Governors Sebelius of Kansas and Kaine of Virginia whom he states would be "governing choices, not campaign choices. They're not going to match Obama's enthusiasm levels; they're not going to do all that well at the VP debates; they're not even going to solve political problems (even Kaine). But they are solid; they are centrist-in-style."

The second group of Bayh and Biden "would put in the White House strong and knowledgeable legislators who would be expected to do heavy lifting with allies and adversaries. Both would do well at the debates. The downside here is the same as the upside: the focus will be on the ticket and not on Obama, per se. Bayh and Biden would call attention to Obama's manifest lack of engagement with American foreign policy."

I think Ambinder gets the potential risks associated with each group backwards. His point about Bayh and Biden 'calling attention to' Obama's lack of foreign policy credentials would seem to apply more to Sebelius and Kaine than Biden, for example. I don't know many who believe Bush's choice of Cheney backfired because it highlighted Bush's inexperience on foreign policy. If anything, it did the opposite, strengthening Bush's position on the issue of experience and foreign matters.

On the other hand, it is Sebelius and especially Kaine who might allow McCain to double down on his criticism of Obama as an inexperienced, foreign policy light-weight. The problem with a Bayh and Biden pick is not that it would highlight Obama's lack of experience but rather that it would slice into Obama's 'Change' mantra. This is what makes the two Governors potentially stronger picks.

-Greg Bobrinskoy