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Democrats drew one step closer to nominating Sen. Barack Obama as their presidential candidate this weekend, and some believe that if Hillary Clinton wins the final two primary elections on Tuesday, Obama may decide to offer her a spot on his ticket in order to end the indecision and bring unity to the party.
Presumptive GOP nominee John McCain has an opportunity to beat the Democrats to the punch and steal their thunder at the same time by choosing a running-mate for his November ticket. Last week, I discussed some of the possible choices, men McCain invited to his Memorial Day barbecue, but new and intriguing names have emerged in the veepstakes since then, the most notable being that of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a 44-year-old former beauty queen, who could put a seriously interesting spin on the entire process. Palin is, quite literally, the darling of the GOP right now and, according to DC insiders, a coveted secret (oops ... guess I blew that one).
Intelligent, good-looking and conservative, Palin has the political tri-fecta for Republicans. Her youth would also hush the rampant ageism that’s been plaguing McCain’s campaign. Last year, she had the highest approval rating of any governor in any state. During the 2006 race for governor, Palin admitted to smoking pot when it was legal in Alaska, but according to this story in the Anchorage Daily Times, "she didn’t like it and doesn't smoke it now."
Palin nevertheless would bring strong conservative credentials to the ticket: she belongs to Feminists for Life and is a rabid gun advocate. She’s an edgy conservative who could help get those vital cross-over and independent votes. Assuming Clinton doesn’t get the nomination, Palin would provide those disenfranchised Democrats one more reason to vote for McCain.
Not that McCain necessarily needs it. During the Democratic National Committee's meeting Saturday, disenfranchised Clinton supporters saw the writing on the wall and began to take up the chorus of "McCain '08! McCain '08! McCain '08!"
Whether McCain will make an offer to Gov. Palin is still debatable. Wednesday, I spoke to her press secretary, Sharon Leighow, to find out if there were any truth to the rumors.
"As you know there's been a lot of buzz about this for at least a year now," Leighow said. "She's been very flattered by it, but she loves being governor of Alaska and her plate is very full."
Which is entirely true: Palin recently gave birth to her fifth child (the baby arrived in April, a month before it's due date, Leighow told me). Perhaps what has been fueling the rumors are Palin's comments that she wouldn't rule out a run for federal office. This may or may not be the year that happens, although something tells me that if McCain were to ask -- even as busy as she is -- Palin would accept.
Still, "Sen. McCain's campaign has not contacted our office," Leighow said, and until that happens, a McCain/Palin ticket is a dream.
Other names on the list that haven't heretofore been mentioned include Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. The wife of 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole, Elizabeth or "Liddy" Dole, 71, started her political career as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party in 1975. She has served in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and ran for president herself in 2000. In 1994, Hutchison, 64, became the first woman to represent Texas in the US Senate and has been a powerful figure in Republican politics ever since.
Vote now and tell us who you think McCain's running-mate should be. Then, use the comment link below to tell us why.
Illustration courtesy of Ethan Demme at MyMcCainBlog.com