Politics & Government

Clinton denies seeking VP spot, but allies say she wants it

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton said Thursday that she's not actively seeking to be running mate to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and suggested that people who are pushing her for vice president are acting on their own.

Two days after several top Clinton loyalists flooded the airwaves and the Internet pushing a so-called Obama-Clinton "Dream Team," Clinton's campaign issued a statement that said "she is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speaks for her but her."

"The choice is Senator Obama's and his alone," Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson said in the statement.

Obama, speaking to reporters aboard his campaign plane, said he appreciated the statement.

"Senator Clinton's been through this when President Clinton went through a very deliberative process before he selected Al Gore," he said. "We are going to be equally deliberative in how we move forward, and we're not going to do it in the press and we're not going to do it through surrogates."

Obama added: "There's no decision that I'm going to make that's going to be more important before the November election. I intend to do it right and I'm not going to do it in the press."

Some high-level Clinton supporters, however, have been very public in pushing her for vice president.

Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and a close ally to former President Clinton and his wife, said he talked to her Tuesday about mounting a drive to push her onto Obama's ticket.

"She said 'Go ahead,'" Johnson said in an interview with the Washington Post published Thursday.

Johnson raised eyebrows early in the presidential campaign when he made disparaging remarks about Obama, mocking his Ivy League education and likening him to black actor Sidney Poitier, whose ever-so-polite portrayals in movies such as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" are viewed by many blacks as white people's vision of what a black person should be.

Johnson, owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, also angered Obama supporters when he asked House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., to get the Congressional Black Caucus behind the "dream ticket" campaign. Caucus members dismissed the suggestion.

Lanny Davis, a former White House special counsel under President Clinton, recently began publicly advocating an Obama-Clinton ticket, and stepped up his efforts after Senator Clinton's Tuesday night speech, when she said that she'd made no decision about her campaign and invited supporters to e-mail their thoughts to her Web site.

On Thursday, Davis joined a group supporting an Obama-Clinton political marriage called VoteBoth.com — that itself was founded not long ago by former Clinton operatives, and none from Obama's camp. The group announced Thursday that Davis has joined them as a senior adviser.

In an e-mail press release, the group claims that Davis' petition drive to mount public support for the joint ticket is "so popular Web servers can barely keep up."

"(W)ith the greatest respect, we ask you to select Senator Clinton in recognition of the more than 17 million Democrats who supported her at the polls and who, in combination with your more than 17 million supporters, would form the base of a successful presidential campaign in November," Davis wrote in the e-mail.

To read a McClatchy article detailing how "VoteBoth" was set up by former Clinton operatives, go to:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/staff/margaret(underscore)talev/story/36639.html

To see the "VoteBoth" Website pushing an Obama-Clinton ticket go to:

www.voteboth.com

  Comments