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Obama and Clinton – the ticket to win it

Hillary Clinton would be the wisest choice for vice president.

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Common wisdom dictates that the vice president should provide balance to the ticket by representing a different part of the country, another set of experiences, or a basketful of electoral votes.

When I served on the committee that advised Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton on choosing a running mate in 1992, he gave us only one piece of guidance: "I want someone who can be president." So all candidates were carefully vetted.

When Governor Clinton met with Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee, the two clicked. Senator Gore was from a neighboring state and another progressive Southern politician. He provided a mere handful of electoral votes. Rather than broadening Clinton's constituency, the two men overlapped and reinforced each other. But Gore added one important dimension – a degree of gravitas aided by his foreign policy experience.

Barack Obama's choice of running mate has to be his alone. What can he learn from 1992?

The presumptive presidential nominee must have trust in his running mate, no matter who he or she is, and that person has to be carefully vetted. The vice presidential candidate does not usually make much difference at the polls. But that may be changing as voters become more aware that the understudy must be ready to take over if needed.

That's why Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may be the wisest choice. Senator Clinton's constituencies – women and working class voters – would bring the finishing touch to Senator Obama's ticket. And as an older, more experienced person, she may also bring a level of gravitas, not unlike what Gore provided for Bill Clinton.


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