The Trail

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

PRE-CANDIDATES

Obama V.P. Search in Full Swing

Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential search team spent another day on Capitol Hill -- and left the impression that the No. 2 spot is wide open.

After Sen. Kent Conrad met with James A. Johnson and Eric Holder, the North Dakota Democrat told reporters that Obama is considering current and former lawmakers and former military officials. One name receiving widespread mention yesterday was that of retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones. Conrad said he discussed specific names with the two Obama emissaries, but he declined to say who they were.

Several Obama sources say the candidate has already settled on a handful of favorites and is using the vetting process to see how they stack up.

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Obama's first supporter in the Senate, said his 40-minute meeting with Johnson and Holder included a review of "many, many names." Durbin told reporters, "Some of them would surprise you; some of them wouldn't."

One person thought to be in the mix, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a former Clinton supporter, removed himself yesterday, saying in a National Public Radio interview: "If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept, and if elected I will not serve. So, I don't know how more crystal clear I can be."

The list of contenders is believed to include Sens. Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Jack Reed, Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Jim Webb; former rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards; former senators Tom Daschle and Sam Nunn; Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Tim Kaine; and former governor Mark Warner.

-- Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane


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