Obama names a Kennedy to help pick running mate Adviser says Clinton to announce end of campaign on Saturday
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK – Barack Obama turned to the hunt for a running mate Wednesday, with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters urging him to put her on the ticket now that she’s decided to back his inevitable nomination.
Obama indicated he would at least consider his long-running rival for the No. 2 slot. “Senator Clinton would be on anybody’s short list, obviously,” he told CBS News, adding they agree on most all the issues.
Obama’s campaign announced the vetting of potential running mates was to be managed by a three-person team of one-time first daughter Caroline Kennedy, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and Washington insider Jim Johnson.
Clinton has told lawmakers privately that she would be interested in the vice presidential nomination. Under pressure from Democratic leaders to step aside, a campaign official said Wednesday evening that she has decided to end her candidacy now that Obama has more than enough delegates to win the long primary race. She scheduled her announcement for Saturday.
News of Clinton’s decision broke as Obama attended a $2,300-per-person fundraiser on Park Avenue that he called “our first post-nomination event.” Attendees included “Sex and the City” actress Sarah Jessica Parker, President Kennedy’s speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, and Caroline Kennedy, with Obama noting her role in his vetting team before the crowd of about 200 supporters.
Asked about Clinton’s acknowledgment that he will be the Democratic nominee, Obama said, “Truth is, I haven’t had time to think about it. This weekend, I’m going home, talk it over with Michelle and we’re going on a date.”
Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, was lobbying members of the Congressional Black Caucus to urge Obama to put Clinton on the ticket. He said he was doing so with her blessing.
New York Rep. Charles Rangel, a founding member of the caucus, expressed doubts that Johnson’s approach would work. “I don’t really think that the way to get Obama to (choose) Clinton would be to put pressure on him. I think it would have the opposite effect,” said Rangel, an early Clinton supporter.
In Nashville, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen was joined by two other superdelegates to say they hoped to bring the party behind Obama even though Clinton won their state. Bredesen said Obama’s chances in his state would be improved with Clinton as his running mate, but added that it will be up the Illinois senator to make the decision that best fits his national strategy.
Obama told ABC News that Clinton is a “special case” to consider as a candidate for the vice presidency.
“She’s somebody who traveled this journey with me. She was extraordinarily capable and tenacious. I mean, she is just a great candidate,” Obama said.
The Obama camp’s disclosure about the three-person veep vetting team was an effort to change the subject from the long, divisive primary campaign toward the general election.
Kennedy’s name came as a surprise, although she endorsed Obama at a critical time last winter, saying he could be an inspirational leader like her father. She also campaigned for Obama.
Holder is a former federal prosecutor and District of Columbia Superior Court judge who held the No. 2 job at the Justice Department under President Clinton.
Johnson is widely known among Democrats for having helped previous candidates, including John Kerry four years ago, sift through vice presidential possibilities. He is a former chief executive officer for the mortgage lender Fannie Mae.
Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett, Laurie Kellman, Beth Fouhy and Jesse Holland in Washington and Erik Schelzig in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.