Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Breaking News: Hillary Clinton hints at joint ticket with Obama

'DREAM TICKET'? In their first one-on-one debate, at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton mostly stayed jovial, smiling when asked if they might team up in November.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, who some wrote off as all but finished in the race for the Democratic nomination for president, has pulled another surprise out of the hat that we never see her wearing.

The morning after regaining some political momentum by winning three of four primaries (after losing 12 in a row), the former first lady happened to mention on some early news shows the possibility of her and Sen. Barack Obama forming a joint ticket to face the new Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.

With most political observers sound asleep after a long Tuesday evening that appeared to augur at least seven more weeks of possibly bitter and divisive struggle between the two Democrats until a potentially decisive Pennsylvania primary on April 22, Clinton went on some morning news programs, according to the Associated Press, and appeared to raise the possibility of a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket.

"That may be where this is headed," she said, "but, of course, we have to decide who is on the top of ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me."

It's a clever move to vault herself to the level of equal standing with the Illinois senator, who remains way more than 100 delegates ahead of Clinton in the nomination race. The idea does speak to what many Democrats have long regarded as a dream ticket combining the first serious African American candidate with the first serious female candidate.

And it raises the prospect of a negotiated agreement that would avoid prolonged intra-party strife, while a victorious McCain forges ahead already with his general election campaign.

In the early-morning hours, two top Clinton advisors, Mark Penn and Harold Ickes, released a memo to "Interested Parties," that said: "With last night’s victories in Ohio and Texas, one thing is clear: the momentum has swung back to Hillary Clinton." At least that's what they'd like today's message to be as McCain meets at the White House for lunch and the official blessing of President and Mrs. Bush.

But the joint ticket idea ...

may be more of a nightmare in the mind of Obama and his team, who thought they were about to finish Clinton off Tuesday only to see it slip through their hands and the struggle prolonged.

And Obama remains well ahead in delegates and popular votes, so he'd be unlikely to be interested in such a combination arrangement now, especially if she sees herself in the No. 1 spot with Obama as the No. 2. The proposal could well be an attempt to stall his momentum further.

Later, on the same CBS "Early Show," Obama referred to his delegate total as "close to an insurmountable lead." Clinton had minimized the gap calling it "smidgens of difference."

Plus, to be realistic, whomever is the Democratic vice president on any successful ticket led by the New York senator will actually be forced to work with a pair of Clintons in the White House, making him potentially vice-vice-president.

-- Andrew Malcolm

PHOTO CREDIT: <i>Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times</i>

Comments () | Archives (172)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Hillary Clinton had a big night - sobering up Obamas supporters. After outspending her 2 to 1 in both states he have a clear victor. Yet leave it to the LA Times to downplay the victory.

A Clinton-Obama ticket would solve this democratic party spat.

poor obama - the "insurmountable" thing is just drivel. we have to do something with florida and michigan...revote idea is floating around. and sorry - but if it comes down to a handful of delegates , this wont matter. no one is getting to 2025. so something will have to be negotiated.

Obama is still ahead by about 90 delegates. There is still a chance for other states to make a difference, but I think Obama will have the delegates at the convention. But, I further think McCain will beat either candidate. Do your own math and do your own delegate count. I think Hillary is too far behind to win the nomination. And, I'm sure the voters in November will want McCain answering the phone instead of Hillary or Barack.

This is her only chance of getting on the ticket...hinting that you can get both, so elect me first. It's a tactic she's used in the past and it won't work. Obama had very little chance in the two states, Ohio and Texas, and in some ways the story should be how much he gained back in both states, especially a state like Texas with its historically racists past - look at the map of Hillary wins - all rural, red neck country.

"And Obama remains well ahead in delegates and popular votes..."

I don't think this assesment is correct.
According to the independent website '" Clinton leads in the popular vote.

Obama still has more popular votes and pledged delegates.

A Obama-Clinton ticket seems more likely in the end.

I'm sorry, but Obama should pay attention to what happened to Gore, who had all the best ideas, when he was relegated to VP. Hillary herself says she had more policy responsibilities during that time. Billary will rule together as king and queen, and VP will be the first lady. Obama should not take VP. After all this campaign stuff lately, I will not vote for Hillary, who learned a little too much from Rove.

Hillary is just saying that to try to trick people into giving her their vote - cos they think Obama will be part of the deal. Fact is - Hillary has burnt so many bridges she wouldn't have a hope of winning in November. Obama being on her ticket would make no difference, just drag him down with her. He would simply be being used to try and bring the youth, African American and Independent vote into her court. Being VP with Bill Clinton around would be hell. To me that is just yuck - for her to abuse him as she has and then try and co-opt what he has created for her own benefit. No no no no no.

Why does everyone refer to Obama as African-American? He is biracial. Am I missing something?

Obama should not be expected to win all of the States. He won 11 in a row. Hillary had to wait around for some favorble states to come up on the calendar to win a few. And, what is this talk about negotiating at the convention. Shouldn't the candidate with the most delegates just be the winner? Sounds like the Hillary supporters are gearing up to try to steal the nomination rather than just winning it outright.

A Clinton-Obama ticket would result in a landslide victory against the GOP and really, really help in all state races for Senate and Congress and State Governors too. It would be such a no-brainer, that as candidates, they could help with the other tight democratic races instead of just focuing on their own presidential elections. So many Republicans are retiring, and if 'our side' would logically support a Clinton-Obama ticket, then we could have a filibuster proof majority.
Why scoff at 35 years of experience? Obama could still be VP and then President! And women and African American's BOTH get their 'historic' moment. And all democrats can get behind this ticket. (Obama in 2016!!! for President!!),.

Go Hillary! It is amazing, historical and exactely what this country needs. She can stand up and do the hard job of fixing some of the horrible problems created by the Bush Admin. She can reach the republicans, as her voting record in the senate as shown. And, for me, she is a strong advocate for not only people but for animals, a cause close to my heart. Check out her voting record on the HSUS's website. Or "Google" voting record clinton obama. Hillary was 100 +, Obama 60, McCain 40%. It tells you which were sponsored, written, etc.
Thanks Hillary! Go all the way. Obama would make a good VP.

Obama outspent Clinton just to lose these big states. When will he learn it's bad business and bad judgement.

A Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket would be a disaster. Both would be fighting for the top spot the entire time. Plus, they are both too similar on the major issues such as health care and immigration reform. The VP, whoever it is, should balance them out a little more. There are some great Democrat governors that would be a much better VP than either of the two going for President.

What has been divinely earned by Clinton shall be her reward. The houses she burnt, the people she slashed, the character she has shown to so many more now in disgust with her than when she started.

She earned that by her actions. Nothing can save her from it. She can work now to destroy the most promising Democratic candidate to have emerged in generations but all she is doing is burning down and dividing the democratic house. She will not be elected president - not because she is a woman - but because of how she conducts herself.

"""It's a clever move to vault herself to the level of equal standing with the Illinois senator, who remains way more than 100 delegates ahead of Clinton in the nomination race"""

get your #'s straight LAtimes.

She's down by 86, and as statistically sound/reputable polls concluded she would win TX/OH/RI, they are also concluding she'll win the remaining big delegate states which will put her out on top, by 30-40 delegates in the end, then couple that with super delegate's, she has the nomination secured/locked down.

Do the right thing for the country and the people who have worked hard for both of the these trail blazers. A joint ticket is the way to change the direction of the United States in the manner the people desire and to dislodge the Republican hegemony.

Obama would be very stupid to be Hillary's VP! He would be reporting to BIll! He would be finished.

I'm a life long democrat (center) but if it is an Obama/Clinton ticket, no way will I vote democratic. He is not qualified to lead this country. I love Hillary, but that is just unnaceptable. She is clearly the better candidate and anything less than her as President is a concession to bigotry and bias that has been so prevalent in the media and among certain voters. If on the other hand, it is Clinton/Obama then yes, that gets my vote, although he still hasn't shown me why he's even qualified for VP.

Just because the media can spin this back as a momentum in her court, it does not warrant the credibility of putting forth a Clinton nomination with Obama as vice-president--in fact, we couldn't be farther from reality. The issue remains that Clinton failed to pull the huge victories that she needed to get back in the lead, and now we're back to square (3 weeks ago): they have both won, and lost, and Clinton is now playing catch up. An Obama Clinton ticket is more likely but still a nightmare, per the last part of this article. Going to the Convention, however, only guarantees one thing: McCain. So Obama may be forced to over her VP post.

Think Hillary will thank the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" for rescuing her campaign? Seeing her as the weaker candidate, and hoping to prolong the battle in the Democratic Party... many Republicans in TX and OH chose to accept McCain's inevitability without their help - and instead cross over and vote for Hillary.

Think you'll see that reported in the Mainstream Press?

Knowing that she may not win the nomination despite her apparent victories in Tuesday's primaries, Clinton's statements show why so many voters do not support her, and why so many former supporters have turned away.

Her blind ambition knows no bounds, her arrogance knows no limits.

She still trails in the all important delegate count, yet she is trying to install herself as the Democratic Party's nominee despite her obvious lack of support.

Notice Clinton's comments do not suggest that she should be his choice for Vice President, but rather she is attempting to claim by statement that she is once again the presumptive nominee by mildly offering Obama the slot as her VP.

This arrogance is the reason so many Democrats across the country do not support Clinton.

This arrogance is why so many Democrats say that they will vote for MCCain if Clinton wins the nomination.

This blind ambition is bad for Democrats and worse still for America.

Remember what so many Democrats are saying, voting is as simple as
A-B-C..... Anyone But Clinton.

LA times downplaying Clintons victory? They didn't even mention how huge a gap Obama closed with Clinton in just two weeks. Yes he outspent her, and he maintained his 100 delegate lead when a couple of weeks ago it was forecast to disappear.

That's the Obama victory that the LA Times and the rest of the media don't seem to be telling, apparently out of fear of being called biased because of all of your and Hillary's complaints. Well, I guess if whining is working for the Hillary camp, go with it.

Obama has overcome a 20 point Clinton lead in Texas. He is the insurgent running against "The Clintons" with this in mind he has done damn good. Obama still leads in the popular vote and delegates. Hillary's success is connected in a large part to Bill, in contrast Obama is a self-made man who is running on his own merits and NOT connected to a former president. He has earned great respect within the Democratic party and Republican party because he is a outsiderwho had the audacity to challange status quo- the Clinton political family. He has my vote.

The only reason Clinton won Ohio is because it is a republican state and they know McCain can beat Hillary but not Obama. Republican came in droves to vote for Hillary.

The Clinton-Obama OR Obama-Clinton ticket IS our key.
Especially with a influence (hopefully less this time) of Mr. Nader who seems to love splitting the democratic vote. (Do the Republicans PAY this guy or what?)
The dual Demo-Ticket is a definite vote for change and progress in a country which sorely needs new leadership. Go, Dems!!

Sorry, Andrew Malcolm, 86 is not "way more than 100 delegates."

the thrill is gone. move over obama and let history take its course. don't be a selfish person, step aside NOW.

No one who voted for Hillary in FL or MI will vote for obama, if he is appointed by the party as the candidate without considering the voters of these states.

this Wicked Witch of "nowhere-in-particular" will turn me into a strong McCain supporter if her little smear campaign against Barack Obama proves ultimately successful at the convention for her and her machine.
and i'm NOT the only one who's saying/thinking this...

It's going to take Obama and Clinton supporters to win the election.

This week it was Obama vs. Clinton, Clinton, McCain,
Bush, the media,talk radio, Canada, and Saturday Night Live.

Look for Clinton to have to answer some questions.

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! The guy only offers speeches, the guy will need "on the job training." The guy offers words, not solutions. But the guy can be on my ticket. Yeah, sure, if something were to happen, he would be completely unprepared to deal with it; but don't worry, nothing will happen. If Obama joins up with this hypocrite, this absolute disgrace, I am definitely going with Nader.

A Clinton/Obama ticket would solve the almost insurmountable division within the Democratic party.

Obama is probably too proud and narcisstic to agree to the number 2 slot.

I'm voting for Clinton or McCain but never Obama.

I would love to have a female president or a black president. Either would prove that old stereotypes are passe, old white guys no longer had a stranglehold on politics, and real change can happen. However, this particular woman would never be my choice. She absolutely will not reach across party lines or build coalitions, she's inextricably entwined with the military industrial complex, and is simply not inspiring. I voted for Bill, twice, but it would be incredibly hard to vote for Hillary. As I could not vote for McCain, I would most likely not vote. People have become fond of saying "We have two great potential candidates", but I don't see it. We have one very articulate, cool-headed, intelligent, and inspiring candidate, and one opportunistic, mean-spirited, negative player with ENORMOUS baggage. Who really thinks that Clinton can beat McCain? She will mobilize the right-wing like nothing else could, plus disenfranchising many moderates like myself who see through the Clinton modus and want no part of it. I will still hope for the best, but it's sad to see that once again the attention span-challenged of the nation could lead us into darkness once more.



Why can't it be the other way around with Obama-Clinton Ticket? I guarantee if it was the other way around, she would reject the idea. I hope that Obama would have enough dignity to do the same.

The problem with Obama being Hillary's VP .. or for that matter any serious Democrat taking that post -- is that they would not be the VP in fact... Bill would be the de-facto VP. I can't imagine anyone with real credentials for the second spot putting up with a situation like that.

No way. Can you imagine them campaigning this fall? Her campaign is based on attacks -- typically untruthful ones -- and manipulating the voters with tears and tirades. His is about presenting concrete policies and a vision for the future of this country. You might as well ask cats and dogs to campaign together, or fire and ice.

Besides, based on her recent comments about how McCain is ready to be president and Obama is not, I kind of figured she wanted to be running as his VP. First time I've heard a democrat rustling up votes for the republican nominee.

And finally, her bit about how she should be president and Obama should be VP because "the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me." Please. Does she realize that she's not running for president of Ohio? The people of MOST states have said that Obama should be president. Oh, wait a minute -- those states don't count because HIllary didn't win there...

Stop the drama, vote Obama.

After listening to what either of them want to do with this country and studying the issues facing this great nation, I am voting Republican for the first time. These two are power-hungry nuts and will lie and lie and lie. Obama with Rezko and Canada and Clinton with bout every other word out of her mouth.

If Obama isn't number one on the ticket.... I'll write him in.

Hilliary ...Never.

I still firmly believe in what we're building here, as do we all, and I think we can make a shift change that is not destructive, but furthers the cause of truth in politics.

Backed by Truth, Fronted By Obama

Though I respect the decision to 'not do nasty' on the part of Obama's campaign, it's not going to work. Clinton's map to the WH is routed via FLA, MI or intimidating SDs. This is not about getting nasty or attacking. It's about shining the light on Senator Clinton's own realties. This can be done with candor and eloquence because we are backed by truth, and fronted by Obama.

A new strategy has to be demanded by us, the supporters, so that Senator Obama will be pushed by his base, into action.
I'd like to begin an online petition of Obama supporters that addresses our wishes for 'our campaign'.
1st key points of this work in progress:
1. That we not get nasty, but that we answer negative attacks quickly and firmly.
2. That we call upon our surrogates, as Clinton does, to bring up things that are more than murky in Senator Clinton's camp. I.E., Bill's very interesting Dubai dealings, the Senator's own questionable campaign fund raising history scandals.
3. Debunking the media bias lie toward Obama. Clinton was the inevitable, the media darling for over a year. All it took was her complaining about a couple of positive weeks for Senator Obama, and the media now falls all over itself to repeat all her talking points.
4. Shed light on the obvious fact that Senator Clinton could not care less about the party and the country she decries to love. If she did, she would not imply that the Republican nominee would be better suited for the WH, she would not say that "as far as she knows he is not a Muslim", and certainly would not consistently suggest that all people and/or states that did not vote for her were insipid and inconsequential.
5. The voters must demand that she release the tax returns. This needs to be truly brought to bear. She is obviously hiding something, and we deserve to know BEFORE it's too late to diffuse a ticking bomb awaiting us in the general.
6. Release the WH papers. What DID she actually do during her tenure as First Lady?
7. Please confront her with the 35 years nonsense. Senator Obama has a longer legislative history than Senator Clinton. That is a fact not receiving enough attn.
8. What actual crisis has Senator Clinton diverted? How was this accomplished without proper security clearance?

If you're also interested in helping me formulate this petition, join me here:

Hillary should call up Obama and express her interest in becoming his VP.

Really i must say i am amazed at the Democratic party and the obvious lack of leadership in this party. You would think after the last 2 elections that someone in a leadership position would actually be controlling the overall Dem party strategy and attacking the increasingly negative part of this campaign. It seems like the Democrat leadership seem to have forgotten that they actually have a big task ahead and instead seem to be celebrating a victory that seems far from certain. Hillary should obviously be allowed to campaign for as long as she wants but the focus should be on issues of substance that raise the overall party message/profile not pull it down. I now understand why Dems have been so ineffective as a unit for so long and why they have so little to show for in the last 8 years. Really I dont think i can vote for a party this disturbed and disorganized. And really if the argument is that this is politics then im really not sure how it works in my best interest. Just looking at this drama I finally understand why this party has been such a irrelevant part of the story for the last 8 years despite such a president with a low approval rating.

I hope that Obama turns down the VP slot since Hilllary can't honor prior agreements with the DNC that she agreed to in regards to Florida and Michigan, her integrity is very questionable. He should take the low road continuing to build his grass roots during the McCain administration and run in 2012.

I disagree with LA Times' comment re: a vice-vice-presidency. As we've seen over the last 8 years, the vice-presidency appears to be a role that is wide-open to whatever the incumbent of that position wants to make of it. Cheney's particular interpretation of the role, which has rendered the VP comparatively free of Congressional oversight and media scrutiny, has established a precedence which should be the envy of any Democratic vice-presidential candidate eager to build his/her own excess of power. (Hmmm...Interesting how that last brings to mind the ol' "axis of evil").

I disagree with LA Times' comment re: a vice-vice-presidency. As we've seen over the last 8 years, the vice-presidency appears to be a role that is wide-open to whatever the incumbent of that position wants to make of it. Cheney's particular interpretation of the role, which has rendered the VP comparatively free of Congressional oversight and media scrutiny, has established a precedence which should be the envy of any Democratic vice-presidential candidate eager to build his/her own excess of power. (Hmmm...Interesting how that last brings to mind the ol' "axis of evil").

Hillary Clinton was projected to win these states by a much higher margin so the momentum is still with Barack Obama. Obama put a huge dent in the lead. If the momentum really changed, the projections for MS and WY would change.

In order to cling to the lead Sen. Clinton appeared more like President Bush each day. She cried, whined, pitched a fit, attacked Obama personally, and finally lodged an all out fear campaign. If that's not Bush, I don't know what is. Additionally, we can't underestimate the power of Rush Limbaugh calling for Republicans to vote for Clinton because they know she cannot win against McCain - especially with the fear/experience message. Clinton will never win back African American voters, which is an important voting block for Democrats. Finally, there’s nothing like manipulating polls to get people out to vote.

BTW, Clinton argues that you must win Ohio to become President as if she won Ohio. That's in the general election with the old-school map that existed pre-Obama. With the increase in voters across the country, clearly no traditional Republican states may not remain Republican.

The facts are simple. Just a few weeks ago, Hillary was WAY ahead in the polls in both Ohio and Texas, after 2 weeks of her typical, divisive politics, and an enormous amount of money spent by both candidates, she lost substantial ground in Ohio, and barely won the Primary in Texas, and it appears she lost the texas Caucaus. So explain to me please, how this shows her gaining momentum? She has lost ground in both states in the last 2 weeks, not gained ground. Ignore the spin and look at where the real momentum lies.

I am deeply disturbed with Hilary Clinton's negative and disgusting tactics to win the nomination. I always said if either one wins the nomination I would vote for either one but this time I may abstain from voting.
My vote for Obama is now more than ever something that I believe in, sorry Clinton I have nothing of what you called buyer remorse.
Your whole negative speech "meet me in Ohio" or nasty tactics on race, involving Canada, and many other disturbing tactics to draw sympathy to you is unbecoming.

How about time to show us your tax returns, talk about the many scandals Whitewater, Vincent Foster, and many others!

The facts are simple. Just a few weeks ago, Hillary was WAY ahead in the polls in both Ohio and Texas, after 2 weeks of her typical, divisive politics, and an enormous amount of money spent by both candidates, she lost substantial ground in Ohio, and barely won the Primary in Texas, and it appears she lost the texas Caucaus. So explain to me please, how this shows her gaining momentum? She has lost ground in both states in the last 2 weeks, not gained ground. Ignore the spin and look at where the real momentum lies.

1 2 3 4 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: