If you thought the Texas Two Step was tough, it's nothing compared to the dexterity needed to simultaneously paint Barack Obama as unacceptable on national security while tantalizing Democrats with the prospect of what Bill Clinton calls an "unstoppable" Clinton-Obama ticket.
Speaking on a Monday conference call with reporters, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson indicated that Obama has not passed the commander-in-chief test.
"We continue to believe," said Wolfson, "and more importantly others continue to believe, that Sen. Obama has not passed that key commander-in-chief test at this point."
Wolfson also said, however, that there is a long way to go between now and when the Democrats hold their national convention.
"Senator Clinton will not choose any candidate who has not, at the time of choosing, passed the national security threshold, period," said Wolfson. "But we have a long way to go between now and Denver . . ."
Campaigning in Columbus, Miss., Monday, Obama seized on the Clintons' recent veep talk to rebut the charge that he is not ready to be commander-in-chief on Day One.
"If I am not ready," asked Obama, "why do you think I would be such a great vice president?"
Asked in Scranton, Pa., on Monday by ABC's Jake Tapper about mentioning Obama as a possible running mate while also maintaining that he is not ready to be president, Clinton continued to finesse the issue.
"Well, this thing has really been given a life of its own," said Clinton, according to ABC's Eloise Harper. "You know a lot of Democrats like us both and have been very hopeful that they wouldn't have to make a choice, but obviously Democrats have to make a choice and I'm looking forward to getting the nomination and it's premature to talk about whoever might be on whose ticket, but I believe that I am ready to serve on Day One."
In addition to poking holes in the Clinton logic on Monday, Obama also painted the Clintons as presumptuous.
"With all due respect, I have won twice as many states as Sen. Clinton. I've won more of the popular vote than Sen. Clinton. I have more delegates than Sen. Clinton," said Obama. "So I don't know how someone who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to someone who is in first place."
Obama wrapped up his diatribe on the Clintons' veep talk by saying: "I just want everybody to absolutely clear: I am not running for Vice President. I am running to be President of the United States of America."
Now, of course, John Edwards also said he was not running for Vice President before John Kerry put him on the ticket.
But one uncommitted Democratic superdelegate from Pennsylvania who was contacted on Monday by ABC News shared the Obama view that you cannot be painting someone as unacceptable on national security while talking up that same person as a possible running mate.
"It's counterclockwise," said former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff, 90, a Democratic superdelegate from Pennsylvania. "I don't think it holds water at all."
Masloff, who is not going to endorse anyone before Pennsylvania's April 22nd primary, added that she does not buy the notion that Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief.
At the same time, she does not think that Obama would agree to be Clinton's No. 2.
"In this particular case, I don't think Obama would run for Vice President or accept it at all," said Masloff. "I think it's just a pipe dream that Mr. Clinton had."
'I Will Report Back to You in Short Order'
The New York Times is reporting that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has told his advisers that he was involved in a prostitution ring.
"Just because you recognize the cow does not mean you know how to milk it."
-- Lt. Gen. Joe Ballard on Barack Obama during a Monday Clinton conference call with reporters
On the campaign front. . .
-- Tours Wind Turbines in Pennsylvania
-- Attends town hall meeting with voters, Fairless Hills, PA
-- 12:00 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Harrisburg, PA
-- 6:00 pm ET: Attends rally with voters, Philadelphia, PA
-- 12:30 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Washington, PA
-- 2:00 pm ET: Meets with voters at event, Canonsburg, PA
-- 4:45 pm ET: Attends event with voters, Center Township, PA
As for the Republicans. . .
-- 6:00 pm ET: Attends fundraiser with supporter, New York, NY
At the White House. . .
-- 11:50 am ET: Speaks to the National Religious Broadcasters 2008 Convention, Nashville, TN
-- 1:45 pm ET: Attends a Republican National Committee luncheon, Nashville, TN
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY
-- 7:20 pm ET: Speaks at the Heritage Foundation dinner marking the 25th anniversary of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, Washington, DC
-- 8:30 am ET: Release the January report on trade, Washington, DC
INDIANA'S SEVENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
-- Holds special election for the seat of Rep. Julia Carson
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES AT ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Clinton-Obama: A Democratic Dream Ticket? LINK
ABC News' David Wright, Sunlen Miller and Andy Fies Report: Obama: I'm Not Running for VP LINK
ABC News' Avni Patel Reports: The Clinton Tax Returns: What's the Holdup? LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: The Belly of the Architect LINK
ABC News' This Week Reports: Daily Roundtable: In the meantime. . . LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Heckuva Job, Penny LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO AT ABCNEWS.COM
Obama Blasts Dream Ticket
Obama questions how "someone in 2nd place" is offering the VP to person winning. LINK
Democratic Dream Team?
Sen. Hillary Clinton fuels speculation of a joint ticket with Sen. Barack Obama. LINK
A slumping economy produces the worst job market in five years. LINK
Neither Obama or Clinton may not have enough delegates for the party nomination. LINK
McCain's Big Choice
Republicans are struggling to decide who McCain's running mate should be. LINK
Time magazine's Mark Halperin discusses the race for the White House. LINK
The Bottom Line
George Stephanopoulos tackles Hillary Clinton's comeback. LINK
3 am Ad Girl Wants Obama to Answer Call
A girl featured in Hillary Clinton's ad actually supports Obama. LINK
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