Obama Scoffs at VP Talk, Accuses Clinton of Attempting to Bamboozle Voters


The AP, reporting on Barack Obama’s comments in Mississippi this morning, said the senator “did not absolutely close the door to a second spot on the ticket, but it was his most pointed signal that he is not interested.”

I think that’s putting it mildly. Greg Sargent offered this transcript of the relevant part of Obama’s speech.
With all due respect, with all due respect, I’ve won twice as many states as Sen. Clinton. I’ve won more of the popular vote than Sen. Clinton. I have more delegates than Sen. Clinton. So, I don’t know how somebody who’s in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who’s in first place. [Long applause.] …
“But there’s a second point. This is an interesting point — I want you guys to follow me on this. You know Pres. Bill Clinton, back in 1992, when he was being asked about his selection for vice president, he said, ‘The only criteria, the most important criteria for vice president, is that that person is ready, if I fell out in the first week, that he or she would be ready to be the commander-in-chief.’ That was his criteria.
“Now, they have been spending the last two, three weeks — you remember that advertisement with the phone call, telling everybody, getting all the generals to say well we’re not sure he’s ready, ‘I’m ready on day one, he may not be ready yet.’ But I don’t understand. If I’m not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president? Do you understand that?
“See, I was trying to explain to someone the ‘okey-doke.’ Y’all know the okey-doke? It’s when someone’s trying to bamboozle you, when they’re trying to hoodwink you. They are trying to hoodwink you. You can’t say that he’s not ready on day one, unless he’s willing to be your vice president and then he’s ready on day one.
“I want everybody to be absolutely clear — I’m not running for vice president, I’m running for president of the United States of America. I’m running for president of the United States of America. I’m running to be commander-in-chief. And the reason I’m running to be commander-in-chief is because I believe that the most important thing when you answer that phone call at 3 in the morning is: what kind of judgment you have?”

I suppose some cynics might suggest that likely VP candidates are supposed to feign interest in the job, and that Obama might just be playing the game, but it sounds to me like he really doesn’t want the gig.

Moreover, the Clinton campaign has, with varying degrees of subtlety, been arguing that the best way to get the so-called “dream ticket” is to vote for Clinton (because she's more likely to tap him as a running mate than the other way around).

Clinton hinted at this argument on Friday…
"I've had people say, 'Well I wish I could vote for both of you. Well, that might be possible some day. But first I need your vote on Tuesday."

…while longtime Clinton apparatchik Lanny Davis and Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe floated the same idea a month ago.

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