Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama will Pick Richard Lugar as VP Running Mate

Was the Richard Lugar selection leaked? This from Huffington:

Hey, kids! Late yesterday evening, Mark Halperin, who writes "The Page" for Time Magazine - which is like a comic book, full of listicles for children - had up on "The Page" a post that, in his Halperin-y way, suggested or spitballed that Obama had chosen his Veep, and that Veep was Dick Lugar. It was titled "Hoosier Values" and read:
What is Barack Obama looking for in a running mate?

Obama tells TIME he wants someone who is "not about ego, self-aggrandizement, getting their name in the press" and tells CBS News he wants someone he would "feel comfortable with."

Obama at Saddleback: "There are people like ... Dick Lugar, a Republican, who I'd listen to on foreign policy."

On CNN this past Sunday: BLITZER: "Do you agree with Senator Lieberman that Senator Obama has not put the country first?"

LUGAR: "No. I think that was clearly a partisan statement at a rally. I respect everybody their opinions in a political campaign, but that's all that was."

To see what the future could look like, click here. [The link led to a photo of Lugar and Obama.]

We know it won't be Bayh or Kaine. The press got it wrong.
Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine have been told by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign they will not be his vice presidential choice, NBC News reported on Friday quoting sources.

Speculation about Obama's choice has centered on Bayh, Kaine and Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden. Other names in the mix include Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Texas Rep. Chet Edwards.

Lugar fits the description.
Have you heard Barack Obama list the qualifications for his vice president?

Obama told Time magazine this week and then CBS’s “Early Show” this morning that he is looking for someone to "complement" his strengths, who is "ready to be president," who can help him govern and help guide the nation "through some dangerous waters internationally."

Obama also stressed he is looking for independence. "I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a 'yes person' when it comes to policymaking," he said.

Oh, and there was also that comment about the person not having a big ego, and not being someone who is trying to get in the newspaper or draw attention to themselves. Which brings me to my latest wild card: Richard Lugar, the very Republican senior senator from the red state of Indiana.

He's even appeared in Obama ads.
In the latest issue of National Journal, Kirk Victor notes how Obama has been able to use GOP Sen. Dick Lugar (R) in his ads. “Turn on a television in a battleground state and chances are that you’ll see an ad featuring … Obama talking about his work with … Lugar to stop the spread of nuclear weapons… Lugar has endorsed Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, but he does not object to being mentioned in the Obama ad, which is airing in 18 states, including Lugar’s own Indiana. ‘I’ve made no attempt to either suggest or censor ads run by Democratic candidates,’ Lugar said at a press conference on U.S.-Pakistan relations on July 15. ‘I’ll simply say that the ad is accurate.’”

More: “That a Republican lawmaker would appear in a Democratic presidential ad is unusual, observed Darrell West of the Brookings Institution. ‘Just being in an ad, even if you have not endorsed the individual, conveys a sense of bipartisanship. So it does indirectly aid Obama, whether Lugar intended that or not,’ he noted.”

Even Rolling Stone agrees Richard Lugar makes sense.
If I was going to bet on an out-of-the Bayh/Biden box pick, I’d vote Dick Lugar, the other, Republican, Senator from Indiana.

Of course, Obama always brings up their bi-partisan efforts to track down loose nukes, so the pick would weave perfectly into the Obama narrative.

They’re clearly friends and that might be enough to get Lugar to turn on his party.

And he’s everything Obama could ask for in terms of balance — the anti-celebrity with off-the-charts national security cred, an open minded Republican white guy with middle-America written all over him.

His anti-abortion politics would be a hard swallow for the NARAL crowd, but the guy’s not a firebreather on social issues.

Why Lugar?
Jay Carney writes that "if Obama wanted to make a truly big statement before the convention, he might want to risk alienating Democrats by picking a Republican running mate" like Richard Lugar or Chuck Hagel. Is there a "better way to double down" on a message of transcending political divisions "than by choosing a member of the other to be his running mate?" [Swampland/Time]

How convenient that he will be visiting Georgia.
Sen. Richard Lugar is heading to Europe and Asia for a two-week, nine-nation trip focusing on energy security.

The trip includes a stop in Georgia.

Obama and Lugar have already worked together on legislation.
Sen. Barack Obama claims in a new campaign ad to have “reached out” to Republicans in Congress to launch a major new program to “lock down loose nuclear weapons,” when in fact the legislation he helped pass authorized the Bush administration to maintain and expand an initiative pioneered by John Bolton to help foreign countries stop shipments of weapons of mass destruction components from reaching rogue states such as Iran.

In the campaign ad, titled “America’s Leadership,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says, “The single most important national security threat we face is the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. What I did was reach out to Senator Dick Lugar, Republican, to help lock down loose nuclear weapons.”

Lugar was quick to praise Obama when the freshman from Illinois joined him in an August 2005 fact-finding mission to Ukraine and Azerbaijan, where they toured former Soviet nuclear weapons sites.

“I was particularly pleased that Barack chose Nunn-Lugar [law for threat reduction sponsored by Sam Nunn and Lugar] as the subject of his first foreign travel as a senator,” Lugar told the Council on Foreign Relations shortly after that trip.