- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2004

Florida Sen. Bob Graham is in, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is out and Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania is touting others, not himself, for the job of vice president.

And that’s just the Democrats.

Republican maverick Sen. John McCain of Arizona says he will not switch parties to join Sen. John Kerry’s Democratic presidential ticket. And if Vice President Dick Cheney should decide against another term, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani would not refuse the offer.

Democrats appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” voiced support for Mr. Kerry as the nominee, but only Mr. Graham appeared willing to be the Massachusetts senator’s running mate.

Mr. Graham said he would do “whatever I can to help John Kerry be elected president and deny George Bush another four years in the White House.”

Mr. Richardson, however, said he is not interested in being on the ticket. Being governor, he said, “is the best job in the world.”

The governor of Pennsylvania suggested others for the job.

“Bob Graham and Bill Richardson have a tremendous advantage over someone like me,” Mr. Rendell said. “They both have foreign-policy experience, they both have real homeland-security and domestic-terrorism experience, and I think both would be excellent choices.”

ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos said yesterday Democrats view Mr. McCain and Mr. Kerry as “the dream ticket.”

“It’s always flattering to hear one’s name mentioned,” Mr. McCain said. “But I do not intend to leave the Republican Party.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that a pro-life, free-trading defense and deficit hawk would be acceptable to the Democratic Party. I cannot envision the scenario,” Mr. McCain said.

At the 119th annual Gridiron Dinner on Saturday night, Mr. Cheney joked about Mr. Giuliani’s ambition to replace him as President Bush’s running mate.

Taking questions from the audience, Mr. Cheney said, “Here’s an unsigned question: ‘Mr. Vice President, don’t you think it’s time to step down and let someone else add new energy and vitality to the ticket?’ No, I don’t. And Rudy, you need to do a better job disguising your handwriting.”

Asked by NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert if he would step in should Mr. Cheney choose not to run, Mr. Giuliani said he was “very happy doing what I’m doing now.”

Pressed as to whether he would say no if the president made “an offer you couldn’t refuse,” Mr. Giuliani said, “An offer I couldn’t refuse? If they ask me, what can I say?”

Mr. Giuliani said he developed a strong bond with Mr. Bush after the September 11 terror attacks and is passionate about this year’s campaign.

“The president gave me tremendous support, tremendous help, gave New York everything that it needed. And I feel an obligation to him. You know, I think he’s been a great president.”

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