March 22, 2008

50-0 FILES:

Who'd be McCain's vice president?: Everyone's watching as the Republican decides -- a conservative, or someone with broader appeal? (Maeve Reston, 3/22/08, Los Angeles Times)

Several charismatic governors with close ties to McCain are getting attention as well: Charlie Crist of Florida, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and South Carolina's Sanford.

Reed predicted Crist is likely to be "on McCain's short list of three or four." With approval ratings topping 70%, he "would about put a nail in it for the general election" by helping McCain win Florida, Reed said.

Crist, 51, styled himself as "the people's governor" after winning a tough-on-crime reputation in the Florida Legislature and serving as the state's attorney general and education commissioner. His last-minute endorsement is widely credited with helping McCain win the Florida primary.

"He's got the credentials in a lot of key policy areas," said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida. Crist, she said, is a fiscal conservative who is "very populist, people-oriented, kind of a sunny personality -- it's probably a nice complement to McCain."

But, MacManus noted, he is viewed with suspicion in some conservative circles in Florida because of his views on abortion and his support for civil unions and for the expansion of stem cell research. Crist ran campaign ads in 2006 casting himself as "pro-life"; several Florida newspapers have reported that he does not support overturning Roe vs. Wade. His spokeswoman did not return e-mails seeking clarification on this position.

Pawlenty, 47, is an early McCain supporter who won the Minnesota governorship in 2002, after saying that the Republican Party should represent "Sam's Club, not just the country club." His unassuming demeanor -- he likes to play in pickup hockey games as he travels around the state -- and commitment to fiscal restraint have led to strong approval ratings.

University of Minnesota political science professor Lawrence Jacobs said Pawlenty was "one of the most capable politicians for presenting himself as reasonable and likable." He won accolades in his party by taking a no-tax pledge when he ran in 2002 (though he did not repeat the pledge last cycle) and has vetoed a number of popular bills, including a recent transportation bill because of his opposition to tax hikes, Jacobs said.

"He's battling the Legislature and yet his approval ratings are pretty strong," Jacobs said.

Pawlenty will host the Republican convention in the Twin Cities later this year, but Jacobs and others have questioned whether the governor would be able to deliver Minnesota for McCain in November.

Even if he can't deliver it, that he forces the Democrats to play defense there and in WI just adds to the forces arrayed against them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2008 7:26 AM

Surprised you had not heard and posted this one from Cokie and Steve Roberts:

"Two news photos of Condoleezza Rice were widely circulated on the same day. In one, she was cheering for the Georgetown basketball team. In the other, she was entering the Gridiron dinner, glamorously dressed for a Washington ritual once closed to people in evening gowns.

This is a smart, beautiful, black woman who speaks well and loves sports. In other words, she’s the ideal running mate for John McCain."

Maybe right VP, but wrong President?

Posted by: Rick T. at March 22, 2008 9:18 AM

It's gonna be Obama-Richardson '008 if Hillary! fails.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 22, 2008 10:12 AM

Rick, couldn't agree more. The media must be afraid of her because there's an almost total (no pun intended) of her. She's smart, self-confident, but not arrogant. Unfailingly polite, thoughtful and honest. The most excellent choice for vice-president cum cultural ambassador.

BTW - the article you linked to had no pictures. Do you have a link? She dresses beautifully and has the tall slender figure that shows clothes off so well, yet Michelle Obama was named as one of the ten best dressed women of last year?????

Posted by: erp at March 22, 2008 10:35 AM

"This is a smart, beautiful, black woman who speaks well and loves sports. In other words, she’s the ideal running mate for John McCain."

I, for one, certainly hope that these are not our criteria for selecting a VP. Please GOP don't start playing this fool's game.

Here's hoping there's a Cheney or two in the wings.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at March 22, 2008 10:54 AM

Jorge, do you want to win or hand it over to the dems?

Remember that politics is the art of the possible and running another white male as VP won't bring the indies over to vote for our side.

We need to win or we will have another President Clinton or a President Obama. Neither is acceptable and a President Rice would be a good choice should McCain be unable to continue in office ... and this time we a "Cheney" at the top of the ticket.

Being a good looking fashionable woman doesn't mean she isn't capable enough to do a very good job if called upon and next cycle, she'll be ready for the Oval Office.

Posted by: erp at March 22, 2008 12:38 PM

McCain's VP will be the Junior Senator from New York!

Then we will get 50-0.

Stil working on a slogan.

McCain/Clintion '08, It's Just Cazy Enough to Work!


McCain/Clintion '08, No, It never Occurred to me Either


McCain/Clintion '08, Yes, it did freeze over.

Posted by: Bob at March 22, 2008 1:24 PM

Of course, the actual slogan would spell her name right.

Posted by: Bob at March 22, 2008 1:26 PM

McCain's already got strong numbers with independents and moderates. Having Rice on the ticket would force him to defend the Bush admin's record instead of campaigning on what he plans to do. Rice hasn't distinguished herself as SecState and picking candidates based on their race and gender is what Brand Echh does.

Pawlenty would probably be the best pick. Crist wouldn't be bad but Florida's probably going to go GOP anyway and he's only been governor two years.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 22, 2008 5:27 PM

Condi has been terrible as SecState, and probably wasn't much better as NSA. Plus, despite all the heroine worship, she is suspect on social issues, which won't help.

Rob Portman of OH (trade rep., former Congress) might be a good pick, as might John Kasich (OH also). If McCain is feeling frisky, he could pick Pat Toomey of PA. Or Boehner. Or he could go deep and pick Tom McClintock of CA (especially if Obama is the nominee).

Heather Wilson has been mentioned by some, but NM doesn't have as many electoral votes as OH, PA, or MN. Maybe Mitch Daniels, but he was part of Bush's team, and McCain may not want that.

Pawlenty might be OK, but Sanford is too much of a gadfly and Crist looks too old (even though he is just 51).

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 22, 2008 6:20 PM

Crist just needs to start using Grecian Formula. Kasich wouldn't be bad but the VP pick really needs executive experience.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 22, 2008 6:52 PM

"Remember that politics is the art of the possible and running another white male as VP won't bring the indies over to vote for our side."

erp, if you're saying (and believing) things like that, you've already given up to the identity politic Left.

The indies LOVE McCain, much more than Bush, who won twice, not only with a white man, but a white man capable of incredibly evil facial expressions.

I respectfully disagree with your premise.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at March 22, 2008 7:45 PM

He needs a governor or a CEO for the executive experience. Congresspeople are too trivial.

Posted by: oj at March 22, 2008 7:58 PM

Take Steve Ballmer. Please.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at March 22, 2008 8:14 PM

Jorge, you're allowed.

Posted by: erp at March 22, 2008 9:48 PM

You forgot Rick Perry in Texas.

I think McCain has to play defense first. Holding FL is a must but I would be concerned about Texas ... with the influx from Hurricane Katrina and the whole immigration question, I think seeing Texas as reliable Red State is mistake.

Tim Pawlenty has won the MN Governor election both times without a majority of the votes. Pawlenty is tolerated by the hardcore Conservatives who are forced to support him. He faced weak Democrat candidates and benefited from a sizeable vote for Independent Candidates ... Jesse Ventura was not a fluke ... he and the two subsequent candidates took votes from the Dems. The state elected a Dem to the Senate overwhelmingly in 2006 and Tim Walz (D) defeated 5-term Republican Gil Gutknecht in the First District.
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa will all go Democratic.

If McCain picks Pawlenty it will only be that he is conceeding 2008 and setting up Pawlenty for 2012.

Selecting someone from Ohio might help especially if Obama is the Dems nominee. I didn't think that Boehner and McCain were best buddies. Kasich has more national appeal than Ohio appeal (disclosure John and I were classmates at The Ohio State University.) Portman doesn't have a national name but would help in the Administration. But if Ohio is the objective, I would look at George Voinovich ... he turned around the City of Cleveland and was Governor .... but having two people that have tendencies to be Straight Talkers may be too much for the RNC.

Posted by: Minnesota Central at March 24, 2008 6:29 AM

He'll carry Latinos so easily against Obama that it would be a waste to defend TX. If Perry could help carry NM and LA it would be worth picking him.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2008 7:40 AM