Obama VP speculation centering on Biden
Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday August 19, 2008

Print This  Email This

Senate veteran opposed wiretap expansion

Joe Biden seems to be emerging as the most likely candidate to become Barack Obama's running mate, according to the DC Conventional Wisdom crowd.

The Delaware Senator and former presidential candidate also is receiving considerable favorable press among progressive bloggers and liberal activists, although this is partly because of what those same people see as the utterly dismal alternatives Obama's team is floating.

While an announcement is expected no sooner than Wednesday, political journalists and bloggers were left with little aside from Obama veep speculation to keep themselves busy Tuesday morning.

Biden's lengthy resume and encyclopedic knowledge of foreign affairs occupied much of the day's speculation, but a recent vote in Biden's more than three-decade career could help Obama mend some fences with a perturbed piece of his progressive base.

Last month, when the Senate passed a update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics said handed the president too much power and let telecommunications companies off the hook for illegal spying, Biden was one of just 28 no votes. He also voted for an amendment sponsored by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) to strip telecom immunity from the bill.

Obama reversed his earlier position and supported the FISA bill, infuriating supporters who had built the largest group on his campaign's social networking site to urging him to vote against the measure.

While some of the anti-FISA activists would prefer the "unlikely choices of Dodd or Feingold" to become Obama's No. 2, Biden's opposition to the FISA bill puts him ahead of some other potential running mates like Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, said Jon Pincus, who helped establish GetFISARight.net, which grew out of the my.BarackObama.com group.

"Anybody who's in the right place is better than people who aren't in the right place," Pincus told RAW STORY, referring to Bayh's opposition to the immunity-stripping amendment and his support of the overall bill.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who Obama narrowly defeated during the Democratic primaries, also voted against the FISA legislation. While the former first lady is largely considered to be out of the running to share a ticket with Obama, some still see her as a long shot possibility.

Pincus said a discussion thread examining the FISA vote he started on the Facebook group "100,000 Strong Against Evan Bayh for VP" showed that the wiretapping bill wasn't likely to be the No. 1 concern of many activists, although there are certainly some for whom having an anti-FISA running mate will help a bit.

Biden is not without his problems, though. While his shoot-from-the-hip verbal style can serve him well, such as his legendary take-down of Rudy Giuliani during a Democratic debate, it's also landed in him in hot water after a slew of racially tinged gaffes. There's also, of course, his two decade old plagiarism flap. Some see his 35 years in Washington blunting Obama's message of change, and opposition researchers have plenty to pour over in his legislative record.

The Biden speculation seemed to reach a fever pitch Tuesday morning with this suggestion in Time's The Page blog, and the New York Times put Biden in the top 3, alongside Bayh and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

Obama's campaign is keeping its choice strictly under wraps, aiming to ensure no name leaks before supporters are informed via text message and e-mail. Those notices are expected to be sent as early as Wednesday morning.