Clinton VP Finalist?

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[Elections 2008]

Barack Obama and his advisers have begun the process of vetting vice presidential running mates, and Hillary Clinton and several former military leaders have landed on the soon-to-be Democratic nominee’s list of 20 potential candidates.

Clinton, Obama’s rival during the primary contests, reportedly made the cut by building an energetic coalition of support among women, working-class voters and Hispanics in her unsuccessful bid for the party’s nomination, and, according to Obama, “would be on anybody's short list.”

Clinton finished strong by winning six of the last nine and nine of the last 15 primaries, including decisive 10-point victories over Sen. Obama, D-Ill., in the key electoral states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Making the list of potential VP candidates along with Sen. Clinton is Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who was Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration. Webb has the high-level military credentials Obama needs to provide reassurance to voters in the face of criticism that he’s short of national security experience.

According to an NBC report, other former military leaders making the list include retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, and retired Gen. James Jones, a former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

Jones, a Vietnam veteran who is critical of the number of troops currently in Afghanistan, has held independent posts in both the Democratic Congress and the Republican-run State Department.

Others under consideration from the military ranks include retired Gen. Tony McPeak, who was Air Force chief of staff during Operation Desert Storm; retired Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, who flew repeated combat missions and has worked with Obama on a range of military issues since before he began his presidential campaign; and Richard Danzig, who was Navy secretary under President Clinton.

Obama also is looking at Hillary Clinton's top military adviser, Hugh Shelton, who was former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Other more well-known names being bandied about include Senators John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and Sam Nunn. Also making the list are Governors Kathleen Sebelius, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine.

A three-person team is helping Obama manage the vetting process: former first daughter Caroline Kennedy, former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, and former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson.

They, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other top Democrats, are helping Obama wade through wide-ranging impressions about the people on the list, including the respect they command and their standing with their colleagues. 


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