Ohio Guv Won’t Run with Obama

By John Santucci

Jun 10, 2008 3:55pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis and John Santucci Report: Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) was Shermanesque on Tuesday in saying that he would "absolutely not" be Sen. Barack Obama’s, D-Ill., running mate even if asked to join the Democratic ticket.

Asked on NPR’s "All Things Considered" if he is auditioning to be Obama’s running mate, Strickland said, "Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve.

So, I don’t know how more crystal clear I can be."

Strickland was seen by some political handicappers as an attractive vice presidential pick for Obama because he is a popular chief executive and former House member who hails from Ohio, the state which decided the 2004 election.

Strickland was also a high-profile backer of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., which would have allowed Obama to present his selection as a play towards party unity.

Last year, Strickland made a Shermanesque disavowal of interest in being Clinton’s running mate.

Though Strickland will not be on the ticket, the Obama campaign is recruiting Strickland adviser Aaron Pickrell — who steered Clinton’s successful primary effort in the state — to run Obama’s Ohio campaign in the fall. 

When questioned by NPR’s Michele Norris if his statement was the kind of insincere disavowal of interest offered by other VP hopefuls, Strickland contrasted his own flat denial of interest with what he has heard from other VP prospects.

"No, I don’t think they all say that," said Strickland. "I’ve heard people say, ‘you know, if I was asked, it would certainly be something I would have to consider."

Despite his Shermanesque dismissal of being Obama’s No. 2, the former minister and prison psychologist said he is committed to seeing Obama elected president.

When asked to rank the degree of difficulty of Obama carrying Ohio, Strickland says: “I would say somewhere around 5 in a scale of 1 to 10. I think it’s, I just think it’s a challenge because of the nature of our state.”

The audio of the entire interview will be available at approximately 7:00 pm ET at www.NPR.org

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