- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2000

Vice President Al Gore yesterday set the time and place for his announcement of a running mate noon tomorrow in Nashville, Tenn. as speculation focused on four senators, two with 12 years'experience and two with just 19 months' tenure.
But no one not even Mr. Gore knows for sure whom he will choose as the man who would succeed him as vice president.
"I have not decided yet," he told a Democratic Party fund-raising audience in Southampton, N.Y., "but I will, and shortly."
Gore campaign chairman William M. Daley, however, confirmed that the four senators John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut are on Mr. Gore's short list.
He also said there are "other" vice-presidential candidates under consideration, whom he refused to identify. And he did not appear to rule out the selection of what Mr. Gore has called a "wild card."
On ABC's "This Week," Mr. Daley declined to speculate.
"It will be over soon … it will be over Tuesday at noon, when the vice president introduces his nominee," said Mr. Daley, who until recently served as commerce secretary in the Clinton administration.
Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who heads the vice-presidential search effort, was en route to Nashville late yesterday.
Mr. Gore "has not made up his mind," Gore spokesman Chris Lehane said. "He will not make that final deliberation today, but obviously this meeting is part of that process."
Reporters were told by Gore advisers yesterday that the odds favor Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts liberal who was a military hero in the Vietnam War, and Mr. Edwards, a former trial lawyer handling personal injury cases, whose entire career in public office has been limited to his 19 months in the U.S. Senate. Mr. Edwards particularly is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Asked about Mr. Edwards on CBS' "Face the Nation," Bush campaign spokeswoman Karen Hughes said, "Senator Edwards clearly does not have anywhere near the experience or the stature that Dick Cheney does, and I think the same is true for other candidates who are being considered."
Texas Gov. George W. Bush selected as his running mate Richard B. Cheney, a six-term congressman who had served as defense secretary during Desert Storm.
Gore campaign aides said Mr. Gore might have his own opinions about who would make the best vice president, and Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Bayh are still in the running.
Mr. Lieberman is a moderate Democrat who has been called the "conscience of the Senate." He has strong ethical values and, during the impeachment proceedings, took to the Senate floor and made a scathing criticism of Mr. Clinton's moral conduct, which he softened somewhat in the days that followed. He was also the chief proponent, though unsuccessful, of a resolution of censure of the president.
Mr. Bayh was governor of Indiana before coming to the Senate, where his late father, Birch Bayh, long served and was briefly a candidate for president in 1972.
Two others who had been on the long list House Minority Leader Richard I. Gephardt of Missouri and New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen have said they don't want the job. Mr. Gore is not believed to be trying to persuade them otherwise.
On ABC's "This Week," co-host Cokie Roberts noted that Mr. Christopher has said the person picked as Mr. Gore's running mate must have credibility to be president.
Noting that Mr. Edwards, 47, has "been in the Senate a year and a half" and previously had not held public office, Mrs. Roberts asked whether Americans would regard him as having the required credibility.
"I'm not going to talk about any of the specific candidates that have been mentioned… . There's no question that all of the candidates the vice president is looking at are highly qualified to be president and [to] articulate the message of the future that Al Gore is talking about," Mr. Daley said.
He said all the candidates have "their strengths," but he recognizes political opponents will be looking to find weaknesses. "People will say a resume is the most important thing in life. I think in today's work, in today's new economy, the length of service or the length of time on a job isn't necessarily the only qualification for a promotion or for looking to see who can take a message."
Mr. Gore "understands better than anyone in this process what's needed to be the vice president, and not only as a candidate, but … as a partner, after election."
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination, said he believes it "would be very unusual if [Mr. Edwards] were selected this time," even though he is "very smart" and a "very good debater."
Some in the Gore campaign believe Mr. Kerry would be the safest choice among the four being mentioned, and Mr. Daley sang his praises on ABC.
"John Kerry has served this nation extremely well, both in the military service and as a public official … lieutenant governor, senator… . He's someone who is very solid, understands the international issues and understands America."
Ed Rendell, co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has said Mr. Lieberman would be unsurpassed if he were not an Orthodox Jew. "I don't think anyone can calculate the effect of having a Jew on the ticket," he told reporters. "If Joe Lieberman was Episcopalian, I think he'd almost be a slam dunk."
There is also some concern among party faithful that Mr. Bayh's opposition to partial-birth abortion, which he voted to make a crime, could be an obstacle for him among feminists and other abortion-rights advocates.
Mr. Daley dismissed these concerns and lavished praise on both men in interviews on ABC and on CNN's "Late Edition." He was particularly upbeat about Mr. Bayh in remarks on CNN.
"Al Gore believes [Mr. Bayh] is a solid person who proved as governor in a state that's highly Republican that he could not only win, but he could govern, and then win that Senate seat and leave that state to a Democratic governor," said Mr. Daley.
"Evan Bayh has proven that he understands what the people of Indiana want in elected officials. And the sort of character that he brings … would be a major benefit to Al Gore. I think he's one of the stars of the present and the future of the Democratic Party."



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