Obama VP buzz centers on Biden

Still no word on choice, timing

''I'm not the guy,'' Senator Joe Biden said. ''I'm not the guy,'' Senator Joe Biden said.
Globe Staff And Associated Press / August 20, 2008
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With speculation rising daily and an announcement expected any day, Senator Barack Obama kept his plans for naming a running mate to himself yesterday as buzz grew louder around Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who could lend national security gravitas to the Democratic ticket.

Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Orlando, Fla., yesterday morning, Obama praised Biden, saying he was "proud to join my friend" in pushing an additional $1 billion of reconstruction projects in Georgia after the Russian invasion. Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, just returned from a fact-finding visit to the former Soviet republic.

But Biden said later yesterday, "I'm not the guy."

Others most mentioned include Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, who could join Obama for a rally today in Martinsville, Va.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, also rumored as a possible choice, professed no inside knowledge of when word would come and wouldn't say yesterday whether she expects to be chosen. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York was seen by some Democrats as a long-shot pick.

Only Obama, his wife, Michelle, a handful of senior advisers, and his two-member search committee know for certain who has been vetted and discussed.

Obama's campaign says that supporters would receive first word of his decision through a mass text message.

With the Olympics and the back-to-back nominating conventions, the timing of when Obama and Republican John McCain will name their running mates has become almost as much a part of the guessing game as the who.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Obama has all but settled on his choice, and could make it public as soon as this morning.

A senior Obama adviser told the Associated Press that Obama and his running mate will appear together Saturday in Springfield, Ill., in front of the former state Capitol in Illinois where Abraham Lincoln once served. Obama chose the same venue to launch his presidential bid early last year.

On the Republican side, the Politico website reported that McCain could name his choice a week from Friday - the day after Obama gives his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention - when he already has major rallies planned in battleground states including Ohio.

The National Review reported that McCain officials are quietly calling GOP leaders in several states about the impact of picking a running mate who supports abortion rights - suggesting that McCain is at least considering candidates such as former governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

"Everybody wants to be the vice president," Ridge said on CNN yesterday.

But conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh warned yesterday that core Republicans "will totally turn on McCain" if he picks an abortion rights supporter, predicting that such a move "will ensure his defeat."

Besides Ridge, McCain is believed to be considering Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.

A less traditional choice, Republicans say, would be Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who now is an independent and has been campaigning with McCain.

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