Does Obama need Bayh?

Dateline: Tue 05 Aug 2008

Although Sen. Evan Bayh has told the Star he has had no offer to be veep from Barack Obama, the speculation has the dogs barking in Indiana.

Obama will be here for 21 hours starting Wednesday with Bayh; hence the buzz.

But does Obama need Bayh that badly? He's doing pretty well already in the state, with 18 campaign offices opened to 0 for John McCain, accordiing to the Star (meaning, one can presume, that McCain's camp thinks McCain has the state bagged).

Still, a few weeks ago, Keith Clock, Hamilton County's very busy Dem chairman, explained how well positioned that supposedly traditionally GOP (read white, rich) county is:

"There is a lot of activity here in Hamilton County that is unprecedented. We had almost 42,000 people (over 60% of the total vote) vote in the Democratic Primary here making us the 5th largest Democratic County in the state. The Obama campaign had 5 offices here in the primary and will have 2 or 3 here by September. Pretty exciting stuff."

Adds Clock, in an even more optimistic nod to the future vs. the past:

"Just as a comparison look at the differences between general election years. In the 2004 primary, the winner (John) Kerry, received around 2,900 votes. This year, the winner Obama, received over 25,000 votes."

All this, he notes, ties into the governor's race, which is another reason Dems are feeling so frisky:

"There's another huge difference in the governor's race. Even when comparing the primary results to the 2004 general election, the increase in Democratic turnout is huge."

Friend Pete Miesel, a far more serious and astute political thinker than I am, adds these thoughts about Bayh and Obama in general:

"I think that Obama's internals must be telling him that his place in the center is relatively safe for the General, so he can for a relatively safe choice, instead of a desperation Hillary move. Of course, are the polls telling them something about the Indiana governor's race that we aren't seeing, given the risk of throwing away a fairly safe Democratic Senate seat. The fact that Bayh is fairly tight with Hillary should help him a great deal in Southern Indiana (where Hillary just mauled Obama in

the primary if I remember correctly)."

When I argued the obvious -- Bayh is a lightweight and frankly, he disappointed a lot of rank-and-file Dems as governor, Pete responded:

"Of course Bayh is a lightweight, but he's an experienced lightweight who is tightly allied with the Hillary people. Judging by the joint letter he and Obama sent to the VA (Veterans' Administration) about the terrible job the VA is doing treating veteran's head injuries, perhaps Bayh is going to be the attack dog on military affairs that (Sen. Jim) Webb (Virginia) might have been. IF this is the ticket, think of all the Obama/Bayh ads that will run during the Olympics. Two men of different races, relatively the same age...big generational symbolism."

On that governor's race, Pete echoes what several Indiana bloggers have been saying today:

"You still have to wonder about the internals for the governor's race if Bayh is even this close to the (veep) spot though.:


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