It’s been about a week since Barack Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination, and talk about who might be in the running for his VP slot has quic
June 10, 2008

It’s been about a week since Barack Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination, and talk about who might be in the running for his VP slot has quickly gone from parlor game to all-consuming obsession in some political circles.

Given this, it’s nice to have a little something to chew on.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s vice presidential vetting team discussed roughly 20 names with a senior Senate Democrat Tuesday, including some well-known options and others that are “outside the box.”

Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota told CNN that some of those on the list are “top officials now,” others are “former lawmakers” and others are “former top military leaders.”

Conrad said Obama’s team wanted his impressions about the people on the list, including the respect they command and their “standing with their colleagues.” He termed their discussion “wide-ranging.”

MSNBC’s report added some additional details, pointing to a series of specific names that have been “bandied about” among congressional Dems and Obama’s search committee, including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Ted Strickland, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and Sam Nunn. The report indicated that “the two other names that invited extended discussion were Biden and Strickland.” (For the record, the only name on that list that would worry me is Nunn.)

As for “former top military leaders,” Wesley Clark’s name certainly comes to mind, as does Anthony Zinni’s. But MSNBC noted, “[O]ne name the vetters are inserting in the conversations is one that is not a household name — Ret. Gen. James Jones, the former Marine-turned-NATO Supreme Allied Commander.”

And speaking of Obama campaign machinations, campaign manager David Plouffe sent out an interesting email to the DNC list this morning:

I have some news that I wanted you to hear.

People like you have been the heart of Chairman Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy to rebuild our party and empower Democrats to compete everywhere. We’ve all seen the energy and enthusiasm at the grassroots level impact races up and down the ballot over the last three years.

I am proud to announce that our presidential campaign will be the first in a generation to deploy and maintain staff in every single state.

The network of volunteers and the infrastructure built up during the historic primary season — on behalf of all the Democratic campaigns — have given us an enormous and unprecedented opportunity in the general election.

That’s both impressive and encouraging. As Ben Smith noted, “It’s a symbolic move the campaign can afford, and also another mark of how fully and swiftly Obama is remaking the Democratic Party in his own image. It’s also worth noting that Obama’s volunteer cadre means there will probably be visible campaigns, with lots of volunteers, literally everywhere, even if there’s only a staffer or two on the ground in, say, Idaho.”

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