July 30, 2008

Kaine Won’t Rule Himself Off Ticket

By Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

Jul. 30--Gov. Timothy M. Kaine declined yesterday to withdraw his name from speculation as Sen. Barack Obama's running mate.

Asked on a Washington radio show whether he would issue a "Shermanesque" statement, Kaine replied: "I will not issue any statement. I came on board with Senator Obama to help him. This is about him, not about me."

William Tecumseh Sherman, the Union general who was asked to run for president, famously replied: "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve."

Reports in Virginia and in Washington indicate that Obama's advisers are screening the Virginia governor, a national co-chairman of the Illinois senator's campaign.

But pressed by a reporter during his appearance on WTOP radio, Kaine declined to say whether he has been vetted by the Obama campaign.

"I'm just not going to talk about my conversations with the campaign," he said.

Kaine's term as governor expires in January 2010. If an Obama-Kaine ticket were to be elected, Kaine presumably would resign before the presidential inauguration in January, handing the governorship to a Republican, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Kaine stressed that he has not sought a spot on Obama's ticket.

"I haven't sought it. I'm not running for it. I'm not asking for it. I've never asked anything of the campaign. I didn't endorse him to get anything. I endorsed him to help him," Kaine said. "And again, the area where I think I can be most helpful is in Virginia."

Obama spent the day in Washington. He discussed mortgage relief with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson by telephone. He also was scheduled to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Asked when he next will meet with Obama, Kaine said "I don't know."

He added: "The only secret meeting I have [today while in Washington] is with my 13-year-old daughter."

Kaine was with his daughter Annella, whom he is taking to the Chincoteague pony roundup.

Outside the radio station, Kaine said he and Obama do not discuss other potential vice-presidential selections.

"That's not a topic we talk about at all," Kaine said. "We talk about winning the election and what I can do, and obviously I've gone to some other states, but I mean, my main desire is to be sure we do well in Virginia."

Speculation about a Kaine vice-presidential nomination has heightened this week, in part because of a feeling that he could help deliver Virginia's 13 electoral votes to Obama, which might be enough to put him over the top.

. . .

No Democratic presidential nominee has carried Virginia since 1964.

The speculation already has drawn the ire of environmentalists because of Kaine's support of a coal-burning power plant in Southwest Virginia.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which is suing to block the plant, said Kaine has been listed as one of the top 10 enemies of the environment.

Staff writer Neil H. Simon of Media General News Service contributed to this report.


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