Thom Hartman: Obama – Ask Hillary First!

Word has it today that Barack Obama “has begun a top-secret search for a running mate.”

Although Obama would not acknowledge the search is on, Democratic officials speaking on the condition of anonymity say that “Obama has asked former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to begin vetting potential vice presidential picks.” Johnson vetted VP candidates for “Democratic nominees John Kerry in 2004 and Walter Mondale in 1984.”

Marc Ambinder notes that “Kerry began his three-month search process in March of 2004,” and “Johnson and his team looked at scores potential candidates and vetted about a dozen of them” before “ultimately settling on Ex-Sen. John Edwards.”

In my email box this morning, I found an email from Air America and radio host Thom Hartman, who makes the case of why Obama should “Ask Hillary First”:

Air American:

The issue at hand for the Democratic Party for winning in ‘08 is not losing to McCain but losing to a divided Democratic party. The first thing Obama should do if nominated is put Hillary on the ticket. Will the Republicans have a field day with her on the ticket? Yes! Is their some bad blood in the water due to some negative campaign strategies on the part of the Clintons? Probably. Can Hillary be a tough fighter able to play tough allowing Obama to stay higher above the fray? Yes!

Howard Dean said a few months ago that the loser will be the most important person in the Democratic presidential run this year. Hillary’s legacy in this 08 election could place her as the healer and bring together a united Democratic party. As a winning ticket they also move this country closer to healing the racial and misogynist undertones that still have roots.

Can you picture Denver with Hillary’s delegates close to half of all delegates demanding that she be included on the ticket? To some it’s a crusade. If Hillary was the one out ahead – by just a little over half – wouldn’t Obama supporters want the same?

Obama’s offer and Hillary’s acceptance of an Obama/Clinton ticket hold the healing and the power to move this country in the direction of the real change in Washington that Obama talks about. First he must bring the Democrats back together again.

Obama – ask Hillary first. And if she should say no, the offer would still have a unifying affect.

–Thom Hartmann

I’m among those with the same line of thinking as Thom Hartman, “Obama’s offer and Hillary’s acceptance of an Obama/Clinton ticket hold the healing and the power to move this country in the direction of the real change in Washington that Obama talks about.”

Although my first preference is a Hillary Clinton presidency, the pragmatic side of me recognizes that we need to get on with the show… And that means beginning the process of vetting VP candidates.

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25 Responses to Thom Hartman: Obama – Ask Hillary First!

  1. C.Colistro says:

    Before the campaign exposed how absolutely impossible to stomach Hillary is
    due to her selfserving everchanging stories and spin and divisiveness and how
    immured she is in the old style of reprehensible politics, I would have supported some simplistic bringing- together of the two candidates left-standing. However. Hillary Clinton is largely the CAUSE of the rift and she did so for her own ambition not for the victory of the party in November . She is not the cure and rewarding her for her behavior will not inspire teamwork but disillusion Obama supporters and
    I believe turn off people who might otherwise cross over to support Obama.

    That he can, in fact select a female running mate or someone from the “Clinton loyalist camp” is certainly palatable. Someone whom she will have to give more that grudging support for ..but will not bring all her baggage to the Obama ticket.

    Clinton supporters now are using the same tactics of the campaign…hinting Obama cant win ..without their getting their payoff…threatening to sabotage the nominee of their party, organizing to PRESSURE for Hillary Clinton (not for an issue..like for a health care plan they like )nor for say, “a woman leader” …
    This is disturbing.
    And if she were selected, would she protect Obama’s back ..or put a knife in it?

  2. C.Colistro

    Speaking of “old style of reprehensible politics” — you certainly proved here you are capable of resorting to attacking a good Democrat here. Thanks for sharing your own brand of attack politics here — take it elsewhere, please.

  3. Juan C.G. Miguez says:

    The best running mate for Barack Obama is John Edwards.

  4. Brigitte Zabbatino says:

    Sorry guys but if Hillary is put on Obamas ticket, it goes against everything his campaign has been about. She has acted like a Republican instead of a Democrat. She needed to unite months ago. It is too late now. If she is put on the ticket it will set a terrible precedent for future elections. If she is on the ticket I am voting for McCain. I am a Republican who is voting for a Democrat for the first time in my life, but I will not support an Obama-Clinton ticket.

  5. Juan C.G. Miguez

    John Edwards already made it abundantly clear he is not interested. He won’t take 2nd slot again. He just won’t.

  6. Brigitte Zabbatino

    On the contrary — if he does not ask her, it goes against everything his campaign is about. She’s received a lion’s share of the popular vote and in terms of delegates, she has enough that it has made it difficult for Obama to secure the nomination. He needs to, in order to be the advocate of unity, at least go through the motions of asking her.

  7. soona says:

    I don’t want her to be in the ticket. He ia unqualified to be the president, if she is in the ticket it will credenace to his ticket. It will hurt her. His wins were fraudlent and suspects at best. She won the poular vote and the blue and swing state. So she should be the one. It is funny how every one who likes her doesn’t see what are those peole talking about when they say all thos horrible about her.

  8. soona

    FYI — it is complete and utter B.S.,, and I say this as a strong Clinton supporter, that Barack Obama is unqualified to be president. There is also NO proof what soever that his wins in the primary are suspect.

  9. gqmartinez says:

    Pamela,

    I think three things show convincingly that Obama’s delegate lead is misleading at best: WA, TX and NE. Obama had huge wins netting a lot of delegates in those states caucuses. The primaries, on the other hand, which had more participation than the caucuses, showed much different results. There is no way to get around that and I expect the GOP to be successful in exploiting those facts to weaken Obama’s support amongst women, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and working class whites. Obama will counter with the SCOTUS but I don’t expect that to. Be able to stem all of Obama’s losses in those groups.

    But I still expect Hill to be the next Dem nominee and president.

  10. gwen says:

    While I greatly respect Thom Hartmann and usually agree with him I strongly disagree with this idea. Mrs Clinton would do little to improve Obama’s chances (unlike, say, Jim Webb) and would be a liability in many ways.

  11. soona says:

    Pamela
    Did u see the poll from NC? Clinton won over Mcain in the general election while Obama loose. Remember by how % point did he win that state. I read a woman from Montana saying she went to bed and Hillary was up by 7% in the polls, and the next he won by 36%. I know miracles do happen but that…
    So many stories I hear and read about about what actually went on those cacuses. The DNC should have done something about those allegations at least listen to them, because all the bitterness and anger are coming from those who feel they were dismissed by the party.
    My question is what is in the VP position for Hillary. It will him get elected but what is in it for her.

  12. gqmartinez

    Again… you’re talking about things for which there is no substantial proof and both campaigns know this. I think we all aware that the caucus system is not great — that primaries are better.

    Lastly the GOP can only exploit what we allow them to exploit. So if we don’t band together we’re helping them.

  13. Gwen

    Thanks for sharing. Jim Webb… hmmm – I like Webb, but he’s not got a whole lot of experience, like Obama. I doubt that choice would fly.

  14. Peace Out For Unity says:

    How much effort in this tight race is he putting into it ? The winner of this race needs to team up with the other ! That’s a grand slam for a definite, we have a democrat in office ! Go Clinton !

  15. Frenchdoc says:

    Pam, sorry to disagree with you on this. I found Hartmann’s message insulting to Hillary. Here is the part that irks me the most:

    “Will the Republicans have a field day with her on the ticket? Yes! Is their some bad blood in the water due to some negative campaign strategies on the part of the Clintons? Probably. Can Hillary be a tough fighter able to play tough allowing Obama to stay higher above the fray? Yes!”

    1. The Pox on both houses is annoying. We know who’s been using misogyny and race-baiting.

    2. So, now, Hillary would have to go and fight Obama’s battles for him so he can remain pure and virginal? Are you kidding me? How condescending is that? If he can’t fight his own battles (for whatever reason), then he should not be the nominee.

    3. Under this configuration, what’s in it for Hillary apart from getting down and dirty so Barack can keep his reputation as the great unifier… oh, and by the way, Hartmann conveniently says nothing as to how said unification will occur. Considering the level of hardening among Hillary supporters (myself included), such unification ain’t going to happen if Obama is the nominee.

  16. Look everyone, I’m not trying to be a wet blanket here and squash everyone’s hopes. I am just trying to interject some realism and pragmatism on a few levels.

    For all intents and purposes it does appear Obama is closer to the nomination than HRC at this point. He does need to start vetting VP candidates. This can not go on forever – we need to win in November.

    And I am sorry but the Obama can’t win lines are offensive to me and with reason:

    From August ’03 through November ’04 I put my heart and soul into getting John Kerry elected. I was lucky — my candidate won the nomination. But I remember so strongly, as do many Kerry supporters, the pissing and moaning from others whose candidate’s did not win the nomination. Many loudly complained that Kerry could not win. I have always felt that all that pissing and moaning hurt Kerry. I vowed not to do that myself this time out.

    My heart still breaks that Kerry was not elected. If he were in this race, I would be supporting him, not HRC — that is no secret around here. I like both Obama and HRC, but ultimately decided to endorse HRC. Both will be great presidents. I will my tail off for either. I urge everyone to do the same — and I think if HRC can’t some how pull off the nomination, the best possible scenario for Dems to win in November is for Obama to choose her as the VP. It is a winning ticket in my book.

    And now…. I have work to do….

  17. Tonye W. says:

    If Obama is unqualified then what would you call Bush? I’m an Obama supporter and I believe that he will bring the type of change we’ve been waiting for after 7 years of Bush. I must say that I liked Hillary before she showed her colors during this campaign! I would have voted for her. Obama is honest and everything negative said about him are just attacks, which turn some people. But Hillary herself turned me away from her by being too negative and switching her stories and math to her benifit at every turn of this primary. She has never seemed to care as much about the party as others.

    Her positives for me were:
    She is Bill Clinton’s wife and we all LOVE Bill
    Most likely shares the economic policies of her husband
    The Clinton Administration was one of the best in recent history
    Great to have a woman President

    But I don’t want someone on the ticket that I could mistake for a republican. Also, I think that in the White House she would be working against him. He has been incredibly genuine and nice to her during the whole primary and she just attacks him viciously. She used and backed propaganda that the Right wing media used against Barack to stregnthen her position. She PERFECTLY embodies someone who would say ANYTHING to get elected and is exactly what Barack wants to change in Washington.

    Maybe he can offer it to her for the purpose of uniting the party but I don’t want her on the ticket. She’s proven she would stop at nothing and I would honestly fear for his safety.

    I see the challenge of uniting the party after her divisiveness as being VERY GREAT. But please don’t use CLINTON!

  18. Tonye W

    When you call Clinton divisive, you are using the very meme that Obama put out against her as a political attack.

    So in that thank you for sharing. As a candidate Clinton has received as many or more of the popular vote, that is not “divisive” now is it?

  19. Johanna says:

    Sorry Pamela,

    I agree with C. Colistro (comment #1). The one doing the old school style attacking has been Hillary. I would rather it was beneath her, but this campaign has shown otherwise. Look at how many delegates have cited it as their reason for defecting to Obama’s camp.

    An Obama/Biden ticket would put an abrupt end to McCain’s claims of superiority on foreign policy straight talk express.
    Biden runs circles around McCain. It’s no contest.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fkuhcelZ_g&feature=related
    And Biden also blows Hilary away on foreign policy and straight talk.
    We need a foreign policy expert in the White House at the very top who’s not afraid to say it like it is.
    We need someone with years of good experience in this category in order to help get the US out of the serious trouble the Bush Administration has put us in.
    It would be easier for the Republicans to attack an Obama/Clinton ticket than a Obama/Biden ticket. Hillary has too much negative polling.
    Biden will probably run at the mouth and get in trouble a few times, but at least he knows what he’s talking about, he’s not afraid to say it, and he’ll be more respected by the 15% of Republicans we need to get stuff done.

    Listen to Biden talk about Iran vs. Pakistan, etc.
    and compare it to Hilary’s “obliterate Iran” comment if you need any convincing about who’s playing politics and who’s paying attention to real threats to American security (Youtube).

  20. Johanna

    From where I sit Obama has used plenty of old school style attacks while claiming to be above the fray. Regardless, I get that Hartman’s point it to attempt to unify the voters who are at this point largely split between the two candidates by a reasonably close margin. Obama has not been able to get to the nomination after all these months. Hillary is stilling winning votes and primaries. It’s a problem in a realistic sense.

    How do we solve it – with both on the ticket.

    Aside from that I think Joe Biden was hugely undercredited in this primary season as a good credit with strong credentials. He’d be a great VP choice in my opinion, but there are many who would be.

  21. Pamela: I disagree with you on Biden. I think that he’s even more of a hawk than either Obama or Clinton. Just my opinion!

    While I’ve been on record as favoring Obama for three or four months now, I can’t come to that position without reservations. Would Clinton join the ticket if asked? Maybe, and maybe not. Would we all be better off if the attempt at reconciliation were made? I can’t see any negatives in trying.

    I can understand Sen. Clinton believing that she really is the better person to be at the head of the ticket, but I can also understand political pragmatism, and the importance of putting country ahead of self. I mean, if nothing else Cheney has proved that the V.P. ain’t chopped liver. I doubt that Obama would let the V.P. rule the roost like little Georgie did, but how could he possibly put a better face on the number two spot than to let it be Hillary?

  22. Darrell

    Biden is a bit more hawkish, thus why he’d go up against McCain’s hawkishness well. I don’t seem him being on the short list in a million years however. Just a gut feeling. Meanwhile as I said in another reply to you, all this fussing about this nomination is starting to make me ill. Or has been making me a ill for a while, in fact. You need a strong stomach for politics and mine isn’t so strong sometimes.

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  24. Josh Medeiros says:

    Agreed with your post, though I think it is very hard emotionally for many Obama supporters to accept and possibly some Clinton supporters as well. Too many people are still stuck in Obama vs. Clinton primary mode, where one side of the equation is good and the evil is evil.

    Obama will be the nominee, but Clinton does have the support of just about 1/2 the party and its support that Obama wil need. Assuming she is interested in it, not offereing it to her could be a huge mistake and cripple his chances. Unlike some of Obama’s supporters here, I’m pretty sure many of his advisors are very aware of this.

  25. john stone says:

    I agree with Pamela on this 100%. I wanted John Kerry to run again and if he had I would have supported him all the way. Unfortunately since he did not I had to make another choice. We had people in Iowa that whined and cried all the way in 2004 because their candidate did not win and only supported the 2004 ticket half heartedly. These same people are now doing it again because their candidate dropped out. Fortunately there are not that many that act this way, but in an election you need all the support you can get. We must come together. Do you want John McCain, a continuation of the Bush- Cheney disaster?