Friday, June 18, 2004

[US Politics] Kerry's VP Search Process (Washington Post):

Kerry has privately expressed confidence that voters see him as sufficiently strong on national security, they say, but wonders whether he needs a moderate or conservative Democrat on the ticket to improve his centrist credentials ... and is much more concerned with finding a ready-made president, though one who will not try to steal the show ... Kerry, who had been enamored with the idea of a unity ticket, all but dropped that as a possibility after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) rebuffed his overtures

On John Edwards:
Edwards's stock has shot up in recent weeks as private polling shows the freshman senator providing a boost to the ticket in key states because of his southern appeal and perceived likeability ... Kerry has privately expressed concerns about whether Edwards meets this presidential threshold, the sources said. After the primaries, Kerry remarked to aides, "What makes him think he can be president?" ... Kerry's competitive streak, which has run deep throughout his career, is also coloring his decision, friends say. Kerry, they say, sometimes appears conflicted when talking about his desire to find a strong leader, or a peer, who could without a doubt run the nation in wartime and his concern of being upstaged or unfavorably compared with his running mate, stylistically or professionally.

On Richard Gephardt:
Many of his friends said Kerry showed where they think his heart is by giving a 90-minute interview Wednesday evening to another rival from the primaries, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.). Kerry considers the former House minority leader not only presidential and trustworthy but also unlikely to upstage or overshadow him on the campaign trail or in office ... Kerry told aides that if he had lost the nomination, he would have endorsed Gephardt, who he described as ready-made for the job ... Gephardt is widely respected by most Democrats but is seen as a less exciting choice ... He enjoys fervent backing for labor union leaders, some of whom privately express frustration with Kerry. Having run for president twice, and having been in a House leadership position, Gephardt has already been vetted by Republicans and the media. "There are no surprises with Dick. Everything is already in the record -- good and bad," one Gephardt ally said. But Gephardt's assets could be his liabilities. During both his presidential races, he failed to demonstrate a broad national appeal, and he is viewed by many in his party as an old-school Washington politician.