Obama-Kaine in ’08?

Story by Chris Graham

You know he has to get tired of having to answer the same questions over and over and over. Because he can’t really answer them in any meaningful way.

And yet we have to ask them, because the prospects are so tantalizing.

I mean, it’s not every day that you’re being considered for the job of second most powerful person in the free world.

“I’ve never had a single conversation with him or anybody on the team about either the vice presidency or anything else, except helping him win,” Gov. Tim Kaine said today in Staunton in response to a question from a reporter about the talk that presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Barack Obama has him on his short list of vice-presidential candidates.

Now that we have that out of the way …

Listen to AFP editor Chris Graham’s interview with Tim Kaine.

“I didn’t sign up to help him to get anything out of it. I just signed up because I thought he would be a good president. And probably the best way I could help would be to help in Virginia. Because as you can kind of see the way it’s developing, Virginia, which traditionally has not been competitive, is really thought to be a competitive state this year,” Kaine said.

That’s the talk, anyway, that Virginia is going to be competitive this fall. It would be the first time since the 1960s that the Old Dominion has been at all competitive. The last Democratic Party presidential candidate to win Virginia was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. But Obama is running in a virtual dead heat with presumptive Republican Party nominee John McCain right now, and he received significantly more votes than McCain in the Feb. 12 primaries held in the Commonwealth.

“Virginia is a battleground state, so it’s definitely in play. I know the Obama campaign intends to invest significant resources here because of that,” Kaine said.

My question to Kaine – would Virginia be more competitive with a Virginian on the ticket with Obama?

“Could the ticket be helped by having a Virginian? Sure. But there are a lot of ways the ticket could be helped,” Kaine said. “I mean, what the senator has to do, and I haven’t had this conversation with the campaign, I’m just talking like a regular citizen would, they have to think about, OK, well, do we need to do something for party unity between the Obama and Clinton supporters? There’s all kinds of geographical balances. Virginia might be one, but the western states might be one. There’s expertise balances. There’s all kinds of things they have to wrestle with.

“I’ve gotten to know Barack very well. He’s a very calm and deliberate thinker who makes decisions after a great deal of thought. And whatever the decision they make on this, I expect it will be like other decisions that I’ve seen them make. Which is it will be very careful and thoughtful, and they’ll do what they think ultimately is not just in the short-term interest of winning the election, but they’ll want to have somebody who could be president, if need be, and that’s what he’ll do,” Kaine said.

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