Thoughts On The VP Search

By Michael M. Shapiro

During the past few weeks, both John McCain and Barack Obama have begun speaking with possible candidates for the vice presidency. They are presumably looking at a variety of factors as well as a background dossier on each individual to ensure to the greatest degree that there are no skeletons in the candidate’s closet. What should McCain and Obama each be looking for in a vice-presidential running mate?

McCain needs to choose someone who is younger and well-schooled on the economy and other domestic issues. This person should also be acceptable to the religious right and, ideally, be a member of a minority group. Some names that come to mind are Bobby Jindal, the young governor of Louisiana who is very conservative, has domestic policy experience, and is non-white; Mike Huckabee, the former presidential candidate who has evangelical backing and comes from a humble, southern background; Charlie Crist, the charismatic governor of Florida, who has a good grasp of domestic politics, is acceptable to the religious right, and is twenty or so years McCain’s junior; and finally, Mitt Romney, a Morman with strong backing from the right-wing of the party and solid domestic experience.

Obama needs to pick someone who is white, well-schooled in foreign affairs, and appeals to Reagan Democrats. His choice should also be acceptable to Hillary Clinton supporters. In my mind, it comes down to three individuals: Jim Webb, senator from Virginia and former secretary of the navy under President Reagan, who is a Reagan Democrat as well as a war hero hailing from a southern state; Wesley Clark, retired four-star general of the army and former supreme allied commander of NATO in Europe, who is one of the most prominent backers of Senator Hillary Clinton; and finally, Senator Hillary Clinton, who needs no introduction.

My guess is it will be McCain/Crist versus Obama/Webb, which would be a fascinating race. However, no matter the individuals McCain and Obama choose as their running mates, there will be more intense scrutiny of the Vice-Presidential candidates than probably any time in our nation’s history.

Michael M. Shapiro, founder of, is an attorney who resides in New Providence. He currently serves as the editor of The Alternative Press, Contact Mike at

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