Obama's Vice President Choice Will Come Down to Geography

Ornstein thinks Obama will choose someone from a delegate-rich state that he lost in the primary.

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Should Barack Obama clinch the Democratic nomination, his choice of a running mate most likely will be governed by geography—where he stands to gain the most votes. That might make him tap someone like former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia. Or he could turn to delegate-rich states where he lost primaries and go with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, or Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. So says election-watcher Norman J. Ornstein, who pointed out that these men, as Hillary Clinton supporters, bring extra benefit because they could help Obama unite the Democratic Party.

John McCain, on the other hand, is likely to be at a significant disadvantage to Obama in raising campaign cash, so a megarich running mate might be in order, Ornstein said. "When I look at the short list of vice presidential candidates for John McCain, I've got 450 million reasons to put Mitt Romney at the top of that list. Several billion reasons to explain why he (McCain) had breakfast the other day with Mike Bloomberg, and why Carly Fiorina is not the woman on his list, but Meg Whitman."

Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, made his fortune by founding a financial news and information company. Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Whitman is the former CEO of eBay; both are prominent Silicon Valley supporters and fundraisers for McCain. Why Whitman, not Fiorina? "The eBay money," Ornstein observed, "is a whole lot more than the Hewlett-Packard money." Ornstein spoke Thursday on a panel about elections at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a resident scholar.