Who Should Obama Choose As His Vice President?

05/25/2011 12:25 pm ET
  • Robert Guttman Director, Center on Politics and Foreign Relations (CPFR), Johns Hopkins University

Forget all the rhetoric from Bill and Hillary Clinton about the Democratic "dream team." Senator Clinton is falling farther behind in delegates and , most likely, will not be the nominee and she will not be asked by the eventual nominee Senator Obama to be his running mate in the fall.

But, there are many other talented Democrats out there who would add to the ticket as Obama's running mate.

If you want a ticket with a good sound to it you might imagine Obama choosing the Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley and we would have Obama-O'Malley running in the general election.

My preference would be for a Washington heavyweight on foreign policy -- the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joe Biden. Biden, with a vast knowledge of the international issues of the day, also has a good sense of humor, and was tested on the campaign trail earlier this year as a presidential candidate.

A second preference would be New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson who brings a wealth of foreign policy experience from his days at the United Nations and as Secretary of Energy. He combines that with being governor of a key swing state that the Democrats need to win in the fall.

Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, who is now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the former head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and also known for the 9/11 Commission Report, is a well-respected voice on foreign policy issues and would add greatly to the Democratic ticket.

Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio shares Obama's views on Iraq and NAFTA and Senator Jim Webb from Virginia would add a colorful character to the ticket with military experience.

Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut could add his expertise on the economy and banking to a ticket. He has also been tested on the campaign trail earlier this year.

Former Senate Majority Leader and author of a new book on health care Tom Daschle, who is working with Obama, would make an attractive vice presidential choice.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has several good qualities that would add to the ticket. The former mayor of Nashville also has been in the private sector where he helped start a successful health care company. He is a strong vote getter.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, the first daughter of a governor -- John Gilligan in Ohio in the 1970s -- to be elected to that same position, would be a positive choice.

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn are both mentioned as possible VP choices with foreign policy knowledge.

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and current Virginia Governor Tim Kaine are also being mentioned as people who would help balance the ticket.

The Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano could help with the immigration issue and the Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm would help with a vital Midwestern industrial state.

Granholm, who was born in Canada, may be barred from being on the ticket because she was not born in the United States.

The Independent Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, would be a name out of the box. Bloomberg would add expertise in business and economics to the ticket.

If this were being written several weeks ago I would have mentioned a rising Democratic star the Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer who just announced his resignation and whose political career appears shattered.

Obama could reach outside of a political figure and choose a respected business or labor leader. With the economy playing such a large role this could be an effective move.

Or Obama could reach across the aisle and pick anti-Iraq war Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel as his running mate.

I don't think John Edwards would be interested in running for the number two slot for a second time. And, it would be ludicrous to think Al Gore would be interested in that position again.

Other names are out there including General Wesley Clark, Senators Feinstein and Boxer from California, former Senator Bob Kerrey and the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick.

My Center on Politics & Foreign Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies is going to start inviting as many potential vice presidential possibilities to speak as we can in the next few months.

If you have ideas on other VP possibilities please let me know.