The Blog

Kristol: A Vice Presidential Clue

12:33 PM, Aug 21, 2008 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Here's what Barack Obama told Time's Karen Tumulty and David Von Drehle earlier this week, when asked what we would learn about him from his vice presidential pick:

Hopefully, the same thing that my campaign has told the American people about me. That I think through big decisions. I get a lot of input from a lot of people, and that ultimately, I try to surround myself with people who are about getting the job done, and who are not about ego, self-aggrandizement, getting their names in the press, but our focus on what's best for the American people.

I think people will see that I'm not afraid to have folks around me who complement my strengths and who are independent. I'm not a believer in a government of yes-men. I think one of the failures of the early Bush Administration was being surrounded by people who were unwilling to deliver bad news, or who were prone to simply feed the president information that confirmed his own preconceptions.

Is there a clue here as to Obama's pick? Perhaps not--he'll claim these nice statements would apply to anyone he chooses. But I'm struck by two things. The "who complement my strengths" sounds like a nod to the need for someone with foreign policy/military experience. And the "who are not about ego, self-aggrandizement, getting their names in the press" sounds like his choice may be less well-known than some of the alternatives.

Sounds like Sen. Jack Reed--who, for what it's worth, I've always thought was the best choice among the senators.