Like Noam, I find the possibilty of an Obama-Clinton ticket to be remote--and, for reasons widely discussed here and elsewhere, fairly unappealing on several levels. Still, I think it's worth remembering what's important about the vice presidency. At the risk of sounding like a fuddy duddy, by far the most important criteria for the job should be the ability to serve as president--and, more specifically, to take over in a time of crisis, since by definition a president failing to serve out his or her term constitutes some sort of national crisis.
TROY, Michigan--With the last two contests less than 24 hours away and Hillary Clinton sending signals that she might finally be ending her candidacy, most of the focus on Barack Obama's visit here yesterday was on how it would affect the primary race. Would Obama collect any of those final superdelegates he needed to clinch the nomination? (He did, garnering the support of Brenda Lawrence, mayor of nearby Southfield.) Would Obama say anything about Clinton directly? (He did, opening his speech with a gracious tribute to her as an "oustanding public servant" who ran "an outstanding race").
Via Ben Smith in Politico, I see that a new poll from the Telegraph in London shows Barack Obama trouncing John McCain among voters in five European countries. But lest TNR readers doubt the poll's veracity, I can confirm this finding with some real, live, first-hand reporting. (That's why they pay me the big bucks!) As it happens, I was in Europe for the last two weeks. And I, too, saw signs of Obama's popularity there. The first came in Paris, along the banks of the Seine, as I was walking along with my family.
If you've heard John McCain talk about health care lately, then you've heard him suggest that Democratic plans for universal health insurance would lead to long waits, higher costs, inferior care, etc.--since that's what they get in Europe. As I've mentioned before, one of the many, many flaws with this argument is that the people in those countries don't seem to agree.
By the time you read this, a select group of reporters--apparently numbering about a dozen--may be inside a conference room at a Phoenix resort hotel, going over some 400 pages of Senator John McCain's medical records. McCain has been promising to release those records for more than a year. And, given McCain's age and history of cancer, the issue of his health is more serious than it would be for most candidates. But rather than make all the records public, the campaign has chosen to make them available to the pool reporters for a three-hour window.
Tim Russert, on MSNBC just a minute ago: "We now know who the Democratic nominee will be." --Jonathan Cohn
Media analysis of Barack Obama's speech tonight will probably focus on what it means for the fight over the Democratic nomination. But maybe because the nomination no longer seems in doubt--like a lot of people, I think it's effectively over--I was more struck by what the speech said about Obama's prospects in the fall. And I think it boded pretty well for him. For the last few weeks, it's been all too easy to imagine how Obama might falter against John McCain in the general election.
Barack Obama and his supporters frequently boast that he's won more delegates from the primaries and caucuses as well as more of the popular vote. You can argue (as I have) that one or the other measure is more meaningful, but both obviously have at least some significance. But I just heard Obama surrogate John Kerry repeating another argument I've heard from the campaign: That Obama has won more total contests than Hillary Clinton, 31 to her 15. I actually thought the figure was 27 to 18, but maybe there's some disagreement about the count. Whatever.
More exit polls via MSNBC: More than 60 percent of respondents in both Indiana and North Carolina cited the economy as their top concern. That's apparently higher than in any contest so far. The war finished a distant second. And more than half of respondents say they are personally experiencing hard economic times. (I didn't catch the exact wording of the question.) No predictions here on how that affects the final outcome.
My friend Harold Pollack, who is a professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, spent some of his personal time organizing for Barack Obama over the weekend. He writes this short dispatch: I spent today canvassing in Schererville, Indiana, with my 11-year-old. We were trolling neighborhood garage sales talking with people as we went door to door.