The Washington Times - August 19, 2008, 08:27PM

RALEIGH, N.C. A voter here asked Sen. Barack Obama, “I want to know what’s your plan to utilize your pick as vice president?”



Obama first got in some digs at Dick Cheney, saying: “I won’t hand over my energy policy to my vice president. I won’t have my vice president engineering my foreign policy for me.” (What does this suggest about Joe Biden?)


“The buck will stop with me because I’ll be present,” he said. “My vice president also, by the way, will be a member of the executive branch. He won’t be one of those fourth branches of government where he thinks he’s above the law.”


Then he went on to describe his ideal vice president, as reporters anxiously awaiting a text message about his pick, perked up.


“I want somebody who has integrity, who is in politics for the right reasons,” he said. (So far, that doesn’t eliminate anyone.)


“Somebody who is independent, someone who is able to say to me, Mister President, I think you’re wrong on this and here’s why,” he continued.


Obama said the person “will be a key adviser.”


“I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust as vice president,” he said. (The trust factor points to his longtime friend Tim Kaine, according to beltway conventional wisdom.)


The person will be someone “who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now.”


“I want somebody who is mad right now people are losing their jobs,” he said, and someone who wants “to rebuild the middle class in this country.”


Someone who “knows where they came from and believes we have to grow this country from the bottom up.”


Obama tomorrow will be joined by two potentials (Mark Warner and Jim Webb, who each said they don’t want the job, but stranger things have happened) on the campaign trail in Virginia.


Thursday, he’ll campaign with Kaine outside of Richmond.


Saturday, he’ll host a major event in Springfield, Illinois, where he first announced his candidacy in February 2007.


Another voter brought up angry Hillary Clinton supporters, and Obama shot down the worry.


“This whole notion that the Democratic party is divided has been hyped by the media,” he said. He said after such a “vigorous campaign,” it is normal for some hard feelings to linger. 


“This is how politics is supposed to be, you’re supposed to be passionate about your candidate,” he said. He added that Clinton “has been working harder on my behalf,” and will be speaking at the convention Tuesday.


“There always is going to be a certain portion of the population that you have to win over,” he said. “I have to earn every single vote that i get … [and I] want them to take a look at my track record.”


At one point, Obama used the word “he,” when going over his criterion, but top aide Robert Gibbs cautioned the press, “I would not read anything into pronouns.”


Sorry for the light blogging today, I was in the protective pool and had to trail Obama all day. Here are portions of a pool report I filed this morning:


Sen. Barack Obama did a satellite address to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union following his VFW speech.

They brought me in and fitted me with an earpiece so I could hear the program, which was happening in Toronto.

News: Obama is still sick. He looks and sounds much worse than yesterday. He walked in with a hankie or tissue in hand but put it away to shake hands of each tech person helping with satellite interview.

Your pooler, after being treated with handshake, asked if he was feeling better and he said, “Not really.”

Obama told me it’s “a minor head cold” and repeated his line from Albuquerque yesterday: “It’s what happens when you hang around children.”

He added that he usually gets “like one cold a year.”

I thought about using Purell, but Julianna had the wise suggestion I should auction his virus on eBay. Waffle guy, look out, I’ll be a millionaire.

He loudly blew his nose as soon as he was out of the chair.

(It begs the question - with his voice sounding so hoarse, will Kaine, Bayh, Biden or my dark horse pick of Jeff Bingaman think it’s the real Obama when he calls to tell them they’ve passed the test? That would be the worst practical joke ever.



I’ve definitely caught either the Obama bug or whatever has been going around the plane.


Obama did caution tonight at the town hall after telling voters about his cold: “Wash your hands after you shake my hand.”


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times


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