Bil Browning

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh top pick for Obama's running mate

Filed By Bil Browning | July 22, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Birch Bayh, election 2008, Evan Bayh, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Indiana, Vice President Bayh, yes we can

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is at the top of the short list to be Barack Obama's VP pick. While I've had a couple of run-ins with the Senator's staff after he refused to answer a question I asked him at a blogger conference, I think Bayh would be an almost perfect running mate for Obama.

birchbayh1976.gifAs Obama tries to move Indiana to the blue column by airing commercials and moving staff here, he couldn't find a more popular Democrat in the state to team up with. Evan Bayh is bland. Evan Bayh is not a media whore. He won't outshine the top of the ticket with outlandish behavior and he's so vanilla good you want to ask for sprinkles when you vote for him. He also makes a good talking head/attack dog/work horse. (See video after the jump for an example.)

He was a good Governor of Indiana and he's been a very popular Senator - as was his father before him. In fact, when the Obama team opened the Indianapolis office, who was on hand to greet the media? Evan's father, Birch Bayh. Birch ran for President in 1976 with the campaign slogan, "Yes we can." Perhaps his son will have a chance to use that slogan soon. After all, Evan gave up his own presidential campaign earlier this season. Why? He endorsed and supported Hillary Clinton's campaign and was the front-runner as her choice for veep. It's looking like Bayh might be the uniter between the two camps.

As slow as Hoosiers are to embrace anything different, perhaps an already claimed VP pick and an already used campaign slogan are just the amount of change needed.

iPhone users: Click to watch

After a joint appearance in Indiana where they talked up how Bayh and Obama went to Iraq together the last time Obama visited, and now Bayh on a couple of networks as Obama's defender... Am I the only one thinking "interview" and "audition"?

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I've seen and read this possibility quite a bit in the last few weeks; especially since his appearance with Mr. Obama last week. But there is also a lot of noise in the liberal blogosphere saying that his participation in the 2003 pro-war Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, as co-chair with John McCain and Joe Lieberman, may disqualify him for the veep position.

The latest scuttlebutt is that McCain will announce his veep selection today to try to cut into Obama's media bounce with the foriegn trip. CW suggests that Obama will announce early in August. Speculation is all over the boards on who is on the short list; Clinton, Sebelius, Bayh, Gore (who's said he's out), Edwards (who has also said he's out); it should be an interesting couple of weeks!

John R. Selig | July 22, 2008 1:31 PM


I wonder if you might fill us all in on what Evan Byah would bring to the ticket. What strengths does Sen. Byah have that will fill-in areas that Barack Obama needs strengthening? Many of us do not know much about the senator and your insight would be helpful.

Evan Bayh is such an ambitious power lusting hack. Hardly an agent of "change", more like a rat abandoning the U.S.S. "Hilary Inevitable" for the "Yes We Can" fantastic voyage conversion van.

I mean come on, this guy is the worst camera whore this side of the Mason-Dixon line let alone the spineless twit who voted for the Iraq war.

Okay sure, Indiana would most likely go to Senator Obama should he choose Evan "Ken Doll" Bayh.

However, such a move would unmask the second coming that is Senator Obama, as just another plutocratic aristocrat.

Wow, Alli. Simma down now, simma down! Actually, I thought your snarkiness was hilarious.

Bil, I kinda of agree with Mr. Selig on this one - what's this white dude got that Hillary ain't got? Why's he a better "uniter of the two camps" than Hillary herself?

The Washington Post is doing the case for/case against Evan Bayh starting today actually. I'll let them lay out the case in his favor instead of doing it here in the comments section.

Here's a clip:

If you believe, as The Fix does, that Obama faces a stark choice between a fresh face and a elder statesman in his vice presidential pick, then the only candidate being seriously considered who could bridge that gap is Bayh.

At 52 (he looks younger), Bayh would allow Obama to cast the choice between the tickets as generational in nature. McCain's age is certain to be an issue for voters in the fall election -- at 72 he would be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president -- and many Democrats see this election shaping up as a re-run of the 1992 race when the underlying choice was between young and old. For many Democrats, an Obama-Bayh ticket would look a lot like that 1992 Clinton-Gore ticket -- a successful blueprint that led to eight years of Democratic control of the White House.

But, although Bayh is on the young side, he also has a deep and nuanced political resume that would seemingly allow Obama to fight back against the inexperience charge being lobbed at him. Bayh can speak authoritatively on a broad palette of issues ranging from tax cuts to American policy toward China -- the result of his years spent in both state and federal government.

Maybe this is a stupid question, but why is Richardson not being seriously considered? Granted, he ran a weak campaign, but I actually kind of liked that about him. His self-deprecating humor may not have fit folks idea of presidential material, but he has the experience to be a good VP.

Anybody know what gives? I have seen very little about it in the MSM and have not really had the chance to do much googling on it.

Good question, Susan. I liked Richardson too.

The fact that he's on the top of the short list almost certainly means he won't get it. When have the tops of these lists ever been actually picked in the end? It's just to get media coverage.

I don't think Bayh would be perfect though. VP noms don't deliver geography, and Lieberman was blander than anything and he didn't do anything to help Gore.

I really think that he should pick someone to excite the base. I know he won't, he'll look for a centrist or a conservative. still redirects to the website...