Veepstakes Wednesday

From Evan Bayh to Tim Kaine to Tim Pawlenty, veepstakes fever is set to run high on Wednesday.


Stoking speculation that Barack Obama is eyeing Indian's junior senator as his running mate, the presumptive Democratic nominee will be introduced by Evan Bayh at a 9:30 am ET town-hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind.

After saying Saturday that he did not have plans to be at the event, Bayh's office announced on Sunday that he was re-arranging his schedule to join Obama.

Bayh told the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday that Obama has not asked him to be his running mate.

He said he has "no idea" about Obama's timeline for picking his No. 2, adding, "if there's an announcement tomorrow, I'd be as surprised as anybody else."

"Bayh said his wife, Susan; twin sons Nick and Beau; and his father, former Sen. Birch Bayh, will not be joining him on this trip -- one additional sign that the vice presidential announcement likely won't come Wednesday."

Asked if he will be Obama's eventual choice, Bayh told the Indianapolis Star, "I have no idea. You'd have to ask him."

Obama arrived at the Jameson Inn Hotel in Elkhart at 7:19 pm ET on Tuesday. He'll be in Indiana until 3:50 pm ET on Wednesday when he departs for Minneapolis.

The only event on his public schedule is his 9:30 am ET town-hall meeting with Bayh.

If Obama does eventually pick Bayh, the two Midwestern senators could tout the "3 F's": fatherhood, fiscal discipline, and fairness for injured vets.

Fatherhood is the subject of legislation that Obama and Bayh have worked on together.

Per Obama's Senate office, "The Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2007 removes government penalties on married families and offers support for fathers trying to do the right thing while cracking down on men who avoid their parental responsibilities."

Without mentioning Bayh's name, Obama talked about his fatherhood legislation while campaigning on Tuesday in Berea, Ohio.

"[N]ot having a father -- that makes a difference in a young man's life," said Obama. "It makes a difference in a young girl's life. This is an example where government can do part of the job. But one of the things that we've got to talk about - and Democrats sometimes, and progressives -- we have to understand that government can't do everything."

Fiscal discipline is another Bayh selling point.

Not long after being elected governor in 1988, Bayh had his chief of staff warn his budget director that a recession was inevitable during his tenure.

The budget director was told that his job was to manage the state's finances to avoid a tax increase should a recession occur. A recession eventually did hit the state -- but Indiana weathered the downturn without a general tax increase.

Bayh kept up the emphasis on fiscal discipline when he arrived in the Senate, pushing for a "trigger" amendment which would have delayed implementation of the Bush tax cuts and new federal spending if efforts to pay down the debt did not remain on the schedule.

Fairness for injured vets was the subject of a letter that Bayh and Obama signed this week to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The goal of the letter was to persuade the Bush administration to expand medical coverage for Iraq veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries.


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