Reader Question: Divided They Fall?

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In response to Friday's post on whether Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama had the upper hand last week, Jon from Washington State wrote us with this question:

Has anyone figured out that Obama and Clinton aren't neccessarily enemies like the uninformed press is trying to portray? Clinton will need a vice presidential pick and wouldn't it be nice if her pick had substantial numbers in the polls?

Alright, maybe it's not exactly a question, but Jon's comment raises an interesting point: Can primary rivalries rend a party apart? And do vice presidential picks matter anyway? We caught up with political reporter Dan Gilgoff for some answers.

"With the beginning of the general election season more than a year off, the press is focused squarely on the primaries," Dan says. "That means fixating on which candidates in each party will outflank their opponents to win the presidential nomination--not on who will make nice with each other and extend vice presidential invitations after the primaries are said and done. Still, there's nothing to stop a victorious Senator Clinton from picking Senator Obama as a running mate--or Obama from picking Clinton. In recent presidential contests, VP running mates haven't made much difference in election outcomes. John Kerry, for instance, lost North Carolina in 2004 by about the same margin as Al Gore did in 2000, even though Kerry running mate John Edwards had served as U.S. senator there. But a Hillary-Obama ticket would be different. Both are celebrities in ways that Edwards--or Dick Cheney--never were during their election fights. The GOP probably has good reason to be concerned about such a ticket."

Etc.: Clinton-Obama Ticket Stirs Fears in GOP, on USNews.com