Clintons push a Hillary/Obama ticket

Sun Mar 9, 2008 4:35pm EDT
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By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary and Bill Clinton are again teaming up on Barack Obama -- this time saying the first-term U.S. lawmaker, whom they have derided as inexperienced, would be a strong running mate on a Democratic presidential ticket headed by the former first lady.

In hailing Obama as a possible vice president, the Clintons are reaching out to him and, perhaps more importantly, to his backers, whose support she would need to defeat Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the November election.

"The Clintons are in a difficult position," said Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University in Iowa, who has tracked the presidential race.

"If she wins the Democratic presidential nomination, she would need Obama's supporters. But she needs to be careful. If this talk of him on the ticket is seen as a cynical maneuver, it could backfire and hurt her," Goldford said.

Obama leads Clinton, a fellow Democratic senator, in a bruising race for their party's presidential nomination, but neither is likely to reach the 2,025 delegates needed to become the nominee in the remaining state by state contests.

As Democratic leaders worry about the damage that could be done if neither has a clear lead by the August nominating convention, the party is also trying to decide what to do about election results from Michigan and Florida that do not count because of a dispute over when they were held.

The Clintons have charged that Obama, a charismatic lawmaker from Illinois, lacks the experience to handle an international crisis as president.

But since Clinton, a two-term senator from New York, won primary elections in Ohio and Texas, she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have touted Obama as a possible running mate.   Continued...

<p>US Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks in Laramie, Wyoming March 7, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>