(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says it’s critical for Republican presidential candidate John McCain to pick a running mate who has gubernatorial experience.
Douglas says it would be a mistake for McCain to select someone who’s currently serving in Congress like Independent senator Joe Lieberman.
VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) Just a week ago, there was a lot of speculation concerning who Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was going to choose as his running mate – last weekend Obama selected Delaware senator Joe Biden to be the Democratic vice presidential candidate.
Now it’s Republican John McCain’s turn. A number of potential running mates are thought to be under consideration.
The group includes; Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge and Independent Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000.
When Obama chose Biden, Governor Jim Douglas described Biden as a Washington insider who wasn’t in touch with the concerns of middle America.
As a result, Douglas is making it clear that he doesn’t think it would be a good idea for McCain to select Lieberman:
(Douglas ) "I hope that senator McCain will reach out beyond the beltway and pick someone who’s had broader experience. I’d certainly like to see a governor or a former governor – this is after all the United States of America and most of the action is closer to the people at the state level so I hope that he’ll find someone with that kind of experience."
Some conservatives in the GOP have opposed the selection of former Governor Ridge because Ridge has supported abortion rights in the past and his position would be conflict with McCain who is pro life.
Douglas doesn’t think abortion will be the defining issue in the selection of a running mate:
(Douglas)"I of course don’t agree with my party’s candidate on everyone the bottom line is he should choose a running mate who will be most helpful in winning the election."
Douglas thinks the McCain team will pick a person who they think is qualified to be president and one who helps deliver a key state to the GOP:
(Douglas) "Remember in the Electoral College it really is 50 elections and that’s what a presidential candidate has to think about when he or she strategizes and picks a running mate and makes other decisions about how to conduct the campaign."
McCain is scheduled to announce his running mate by lunchtime on Friday.
For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert