3 p.m. already and not a single worthless VP speculation post up on the site? Let’s do something about that. Obama’s given two interviews in the past 24 hours dropping airy hints about whom he’s settled on. First, at Time, on the subject of what the pick will tell America about him:
Hopefully, the same thing that my campaign has told the American people about me. That I think through big decisions. I get a lot of input from a lot of people, and that ultimately, I try to surround myself with people who are about getting the job done, and who are not about ego, self-aggrandizement, getting their names in the press, but our focus on what’s best for the American people.
I think people will see that I’m not afraid to have folks around me who complement my strengths and who are independent. I’m not a believer in a government of yes—men. I think one of the failures of the early Bush Administration was being surrounded by people who were unwilling to deliver bad news, or who were prone to simply feed the president information that confirmed his own preconceptions.
And now, fronting at Drudge, a quickie from USA Today:
Obama said he wanted somebody who is “prepared to be president” and who will be “a partner with me in strengthening this economy for the middle class and working families.”
He said he was looking for not just a partner but a sparring partner. “I want somebody who’s independent, somebody who can push against my preconceived notions and challenge me so we have got a robust debate in the White House.”
That last bit sounds like a way of preparing the ground for a nominee who voted for the war — as Bayh, Biden, and Hillary all did — but the boldfaced part in the Time interview about a low-key veep leaves only Bayh among the three. Karen Tumulty, who conducted the interview, analyzed what Obama said and also concluded that he’s talking about Bayh, and that was before the USA Today piece was published. Both Bill Kristol and TNR see hints of a dark-horse candidate here, though. No, not Sam Nunn; he’s now out of the running, evidently. Is Barry O about to make America say, “Who?”
Update: I assumed earlier that the meeting Obama had with Kaine’s staff this afternoon pointed towards him being the pick, but this makes it sound like maybe it was arranged to break some bad news. Not only is Kaine flying out to Denver Friday night — a weird move given the VP rollout on Saturday in Illinois — but his verb tense has changed:
Kaine’s reflections on being in the vice presidential mix were also tinged more with past tense than present.
“It makes me feel good…flattering,” Kaine said, “I’ve always thought it seemed a bit unlikely but I’m not going to tell you it hadn’t been fun.”
Asked if he has been let in to any conversations surrounding the Democratic veepstakes, Kaine said “I’m going to let the campaign take from here. They’re going to reveal what they want to reveal when they want to reveal it.”
“It’s been nice to be mentioned but I’m going to let them do the heavy lifting at this point,” he added.