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Lanny Davis leads a Hillary Clinton veep push

June 4, 2008 | 12:33 am

In the pantheon of Bill and Hillary Clinton loyalists, Lanny Davis continues to carve out a special niche for himself.

A friend of Hillary's since they were law students together at Yale, he served as a White House special counsel to Bill from 1996 to 1998 and in that position and as a private attorney fiercely defended him during the impeachment saga.

Davis has shown that same ferocity in promoting Hillary's '08 presidential campaign, particularly in its latter stages. The day after her victory in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary, he penned a blog headlined: "The Top Ten List of Undisputed Facts Showing Barack Obama's Weaknesses in the General Election Against John McCain." And in early May, he was at the center of memorably contentious discussions of her candidacy on CNN.

On Tuesday night, he launched -- without, he said, coordination with the Clinton campaign -- a petition drive aimed at persuading Obama to tap her as his running mate. The effort officially begins today at a new website, womenforfairpolitics.com. And here's a missive Davis sent to Obama:

"We write you because we believe it is very important for the Democrats to win back the presidency in 2008.  To do so, we must field the strongest possible ticket for the Democratic Party.  We believe the 2008 election could be close.  And your selection of a vice presidential candidate may make the difference between victory and defeat.

"We write to urge you to select  Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be your choice for vice president because we believe that she would be, by far, the most qualified and strongest candidate to be your running mate.

"Both you and Sen. Clinton during this campaign have demonstrated strengths in different segments of the electorate and in different parts of the country. Together, you stand the best chance of making U.S. history not once but twice -- the first African American president and the first female vice president since the founding of our great nation.

"We know this is ultimately your decision on who is to be your running mate.  But with the greatest respect, we ask you to select Sen. Clinton in recognition of the more than 17 million Democrats who supported her at the polls and who, in combination with your more than 17 million supporters, would form the base of a successful presidential campaign in the November election."

The new website joins one set up a few weeks back by a lower-level Clinton acolyte, voteboth.com, that has sought to build momentum for an Obama-Clinton pairing. Davis is listed as one of its "key supporters."

-- Don Frederick

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