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Hillary and Barack: Dream ticket deja vu

(Credit: Politirazzi)

An Obama-Clinton ticket to stun the nation? GOP blogger Bragg believes Obama has this surprise stored up his sleeve.

By Bragg

Barack Obama has unquestionably had a tough few weeks. His overseas tour seemed to do more harm than good, as a trip designed to shore up his commander-in-chief bona fides ended up coming across as presumptuous and hubristic. McCain’s clever “Celeb” ad featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, while called “juvenile” by Obama and his media cohorts, actually was quite effective — if for nothing else than because it gave McCain some attention in an otherwise Obama-dominated media narrative.

In recent weeks, stories have surfaced of “nervousness” or even “buyer’s remorse” in the Democratic party, as party activists wonder why Obama can’t seem to open up a solid lead against McCain in an otherwise slam-dunk Democratic election year. Last week Obama made the curious decision not only to give both Hillary and Bill Clinton primetime speaking slots at next week’s Democratic National Convention, but also to allow Hillary’s name to officially be placed in nomination.

While the joint statement released by the erstwhile rivals claimed this was a unifying step, one could argue that it may have the opposite effect and detract from what should be an all-Obama-all-the-time convention. (If you have any doubts, ask the so-called P.U.M.A. — “Party Unity My Ass” — group of Hillary supporters who obviously still harbor pie-in-the-sky hopes of somehow engineering a convention coup to nominate Hillary instead.)

(continued) Oh, and let’s not forget the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency this past weekend, a joint appearance with John McCain at which the consensus opinion holds that McCain took Obama to the woodshed. Obama’s people also appeared to recognize that he’d been bested, circulating rumors claiming that McCain effectively cheated by somehow having knowledge of the questions beforehand. Obama has also become decidedly more combative on the campaign trail since returning from his Hawaiian vacation, likely a sign that his internal polling numbers show him in a race too close for comfort. The icing on the cake comes in the way of today’s Reuters/Zogby poll showing McCain with a 5-point lead, a 12-point swing in his favor since July, when Obama led by as many as 7 points.

With all of these bumps in the road for Obama and his team, it should come as no surprise that the Obama campaign leaked Monday evening that his vice presidential selection was imminent. It was a good move, taking the focus away from Obama’s shaky weekend performance at Saddleback, and probably attempting to preemptively bury expected news of a McCain lead in the polls that their internal polling may have already indicated.

Indeed, since Monday night, the Obama veep frenzy has been at full steam, and the three names that are most commonly mentioned now as the likely choice are Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (this week’s fashionable pick), Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (the flavor du jour in early August), and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (the first trial balloon floated by the Obama camp last month). Each man has his strengths and weaknesses, and Biden and Bayh in particular would represent very safe choices.

But I smell a rat, and I think Obama has a surprise up his sleeve.

All of this week’s buzz and especially the heavy focus on Biden, Bayh and Kaine may be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. In fact, I suspect this is an elaborate ruse designed to give maximum impact and surprise value to the person who I now believe (and who Republicans most fear) Obama will tap as his running mate: Sen. Hillary Clinton. Yes, I’m aware of the many reasons why he wouldn’t or shouldn’t pick her, and I feel certain that in his heart-of-hearts, he does not truly want to pick her. But if the Reuters/Zogby poll is correct and he is now trailing McCain, he may just need Hillary, her electoral strength, and perhaps most importantly, her supporters. Choosing Clinton would ensure that next week’s convention would be a veritable love-in for the Democratic Party, and the groundbreaking ticket of an African-American and a woman would be historic manna from heaven for the media. The GOP largely recognizes this, and I think any realistic Republican would admit that if Obama picks Hillary, it’s game, set and match for the Democrats.

Could the “dream ticket” become a reality? More and more, I think it just may.

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