Obama and Clinton – the ticket to win it
Hillary Clinton would be the wisest choice for vice president.
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And then there is the recurring question, "What about Bill?"Skip to next paragraph
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Choosing a running mate is the first decision that the presumptive party nominee makes. It gives us a clue about his judgment, his capacity to reach out, and his vision for the country. Voters are keenly interested in the message that this selection sends.
Could it happen between Obama and Clinton in 2008? Their first public meeting with supporters in Unity, N.H., indicated that they could share the limelight amicably. And the country might just be ready for such a nontraditional ticket.
Some voters will, of course, oppose such a ticket because of race or gender or both. But others would be drawn to the polls for the same reason: An opportunity to vote for the first African-American and first woman – making history on two fronts.
There is something about running mates that creates a shared portrait; one that is larger than the sum of their parts. That electricity was apparent when Bill Clinton introduced Gore at the governor's mansion in Little Rock, Ark., in the summer of 1992. A magical chemistry emerged when they were together. They became a dynamic team, representing new leadership.
When I imagine the red, white, and blue balloons floating down from the convention hall ceiling on Obama and Clinton, both raising their arms high in a victory salute, that picture definitely shouts "change!" It would bring symmetry to African-Americans and women, two constituencies who often went their separate ways during the primary.
Clinton and Obama have already established a unique bond, having gone through the same trial by fire, revealing much about who they are – not only to the voters, but to each other.
In order for the union to work, Clinton will have to be offered a clearly defined portfolio of responsibilities.
Obama has campaigned as a politician who is different from the mold. Moving into the general election, he has increasingly revealed that he is also a political pragmatist who wants to win.
If, after he has vetted all the others, he concludes that he can work in partnership with her and that she would increase his likelihood of winning, he should pop the question.
• Madeleine M. Kunin is the former governor of Vermont, former US ambassador to Switzerland, and author of "Pearls, Politics & Power: How Women Can Win and Lead." She served as co-chair for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in Vermont.