2008 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate selection
U.S. Senator from Delaware
Vice President of the United States
Obama presidential campaigns
This article lists individuals who were potential Democratic Party candidates for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 presidential election. After Illinois Senator Barack Obama became the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee on June 3, 2008, Obama formed a small committee, made up of James A. Johnson (who stepped down after one week), Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy, to help him select a running mate. Veteran Democratic lawyer and advisor James "Jim" Hamilton, of the firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, later replaced Johnson in vetting candidates.
Obama strongly considered Senator Evan Bayh and governors Tim Kaine and Kathleen Sebelius, but Obama ultimately decided to select Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. The Obama-Biden ticket won the 2008 presidential election, defeating the Republican McCain-Palin ticket.
Short list candidates
Various news sources had listed persons thought to be on Senator Obama's short list for Vice President.
- Delaware Senator Joe Biden
- Indiana Senator Evan Bayh
- Virginia Governor Tim Kaine
- Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius
- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson
- Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed
- Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd
In the final days leading up to the Democratic National Convention, four individuals were left on Obama's final list for Vice President: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh, Tim Kaine, and Kathleen Sebelius.
On August 22, the eve of Obama's scheduled unveiling of his running mate, NBC News reported that Bayh and Kaine had been informed that they were not chosen. Last minute controversy emerged as it was learned that Senator Hillary Clinton was never vetted for the position, when it was earlier thought that Sen. Barack Obama would consider her as he previously stated in various private and public reports. This led to several questions as to whether Clinton supporters would feel betrayed and would defuse the intensity in "dream ticket" scenarios.
That night, ABC News reported that the U.S. Secret Service had assumed protection of Biden, which was seen as a sign that he had been chosen as Obama's running mate. Just hours later, the Associated Press broke the news that Democratic Party officials had confided that Obama had in fact selected Biden as the vice-presidential nominee.
Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe later wrote in his book The Audacity to Win, which was published in November 2009, that Bayh had been a "coin toss" away from becoming Obama's running mate. Plouffe and David Axelrod had interviewed the finalists and Plouffe said that Bayh's answers were "substantively close to perfect, if cautiously so." He recalled that at the time of the interview he thought to himself, "there's no way this guy will color outside the lines... Bayh's up side and down side are probably the closest spread of the three", compared to Biden, who could "reach higher heights but could cause us real pain." As Obama approached a decision, he told Plouffe "it's a coin toss now between Bayh and Biden, but Kaine is still a distinct possibility." On August 17, Obama told Axelrod simply, "I've decided. It's Biden."
Contenders for 2008 presidential nomination
- Senator Joe Biden of Delaware
- Senator Hillary Clinton of New York
- Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico
- Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia
- Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania
- Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana
- Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas
- Senator and former Governor Evan Bayh of Indiana
- Former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia
- Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island
Other political figures
- Retired Army General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
- U.S. Representative Chet Edwards of Texas
- Former U.S. Vice President and United States Senator from Tennessee Al Gore, 2000 Democratic presidential nominee
- USMC General James L. Jones of Missouri
- Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.
- Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee.
- Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio
- Former Governor Mark Warner of Virginia
- Senator Jim Webb of Virginia
- Republican Party vice presidential candidate selection, 2008
- Democratic Party presidential candidates, 2008
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