Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

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

Biden, Webb, Huckabee: The veepstakes heat up on the Sunday shows

May 18, 2008 |  3:00 pm

There's been a lot of talk about a "dream ticket" of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- but just in case that doesn't work out, two potential vice presidential candidates, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Jim Webb, took to the airwaves Sunday and were asked about their prospects for being the Democrats' #2. (Both senators, it should be pointed out, have kept their options open by refusing to endorse either Obama or Clinton.)

On ABC's "This Week," host George Stephanopoulos quoted from a column in the Des Moines Register touting Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as a running mate. "He has grit and gravitas," political reporter David Yepsen wrote last month. "He's not rich. He's not known as a womanizer. He would appeal to white men, who despite all the chatter about women, minorities and young voters, are a constituency Democrats need to do more to attract."

But just as potential running mates are supposed to do, ...

... the Delaware senator was coy when asked about his prospects.

"There's going to be all kinds of speculation," he said.  "I'm up for reelection.  I'm running for reelection to the United States Senate.  I'm chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.  I've made it clear I'm not looking for that job, and ..."

"But you won't turn it down," Stephanopoulos interjected.

"Well, you know, anybody that's asked by their nominee to be their running mate, you'd have to consider it," Biden said.  "How could you just blow it off?  You can't do that.  And -- but I don't anticipate that happening."

Webb -- a decorated Vietnam vet who once was a Republican and served as Navy secretary in the Reagan administration -- was equally coy on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he was promoting his new book, "A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America." Host Tim Russert noted that the press release accompanying the book described Webb as "the celebrated junior senator from Virginia, who is already being mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee."

"I didn't write that," Webb demurred. Asked if he would be open to the position if either Obama or Clinton came to him, he replied: "I would highly discourage them is probably the best way to say it. ... At this point, no one's asking, no one's talking, and I'm not that interested, so."

Later, Russert turned to former GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, whose ties to the evangelical Republican base have not been lost on presumptive nominee John McCain. "I'm not trying to be coy about it," the former Arkansas governor told Russert, "but the truth is, running for vice president is not something one does."

That said, he continued, "there's no one I would rather be on a ticket with than John McCain."

-- Leslie Hoffecker