Hillary Clinton is spending two days at home in New York, finalizing her decision for a running mate, before formally introducing her Democratic ticket during a weekend campaign swing in Florida, according to several Democrats familiar with the search.
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have emerged as leading contenders after a rigorous vetting process, Democrats close to the selection believe, but they are not the only two prospects still in contention.
"The conventional wisdom in this case seems likely to be right," one Democrat close to Clinton told CNN, believing Kaine has the upper hand but cautioning that Clinton could still deliver a surprise.
Clinton has not made her final decision, an aide said, or if she has, she has not disclosed it. Even the small universe of advisers working on the selection process, who are making plans to help on the announcement, are not certain who she will choose.
She has consulted many people for thoughts and advice, including President Barack Obama, who is close to Kaine and Vilsack, who serves in his Cabinet.
The deliberations, led by campaign chairman John Podesta, have been extraordinarily private -- a striking contrast to those of Donald Trump. But Democrats say former President Bill Clinton also has been involved in discussions and is impressed by Kaine, who has the support of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally.
"He gets a say, but doesn't have a vote on this," one Clinton friend said of the former president.
Well, if both Big Dog and Terry McAuliffe are involved in advising Hillary on the selection process, I'd put money down on Kaine too. McAuliffe is of course going to push a US Senator from his own state, and he's known the Clintons for decades. I don't buy Tom Vilsack for a second, either. He's about as exciting as bringing tapioca pudding to a bachelor party. Neither does Al Giordano:
I'm sticking with my view that today will bring the "head fake" on the VP pick & tomorrow will bring "the tell."— Al Giordano (@AlGiordano) July 20, 2016
Kaine's positions are definitely better now than the Blue Dog nonsense he was spouting eight years ago, so it looks like he's learned from his mistakes in 2008.
The question is what Kaine brings to the ticket, and the answer is really "Well, he doesn't hurt anything." My real problem with him is that he was DNC chair before Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and basically walked right into the buzzsaw that was the 2010 midterms, largely responsible for the Democrats getting the stuffing beat out of them at the congressional and state level. Why Clinton would trust his political skills after that famous "shellacking" I have no clue.
Back in June I said not to worry about Kaine when it was clear that Clinton was field-testing Liz Warren and at least talking to people like Sherrod Brown. But now that Clinton's choice is imminent, it seems Kaine may be the choice after all.
I suppose "It could be worse, she could pick Debbie Wasserman Schultz" is something of a consolation prize, but not by much. We'll see if Clinton does surprise us, after all President Obama did with Joe Biden, and it turned out he was pretty good at the job.
But she's not Obama (which is kind of the problem.) C'est la vie.