VP Choices And Immigration
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Increasingly, the 2008 presidential race looks to be between McCain and Obama.

McCain's choice of VP is especially important because McCain's age and health make it rather likely that he won't serve two terms. McCain thus needs a running mate who is presidential enough that he'll be able to step into the presidency rapidly. According to Intrade, the leading GOP VP possibilities are Gov. Pawlenty of Minnesota, Huckabee of Arkansas and Romney of Massachusetts. Pawlenty is an especially interesting case, because he endorsed McCain early on-but has also spoken out against illegal immigration. Basically McCain's choice comes down to whether he wants to appeal the nationalist, religious or corporate factions in the GOP and independent voters.

The Democratic choices are a bit more complex as this table shows:

Candidate Intrade Odds ABI  Grade-
Hillary Clinton 17.5 D-
Jim Webb 15.0 C-
Al Gore 6.9 A-
Bill Richardson 6.2 F-
Wesley Clark 5.6
Mark Warner 5.0
Ted Strickland 5.0
John Edwards 4.6 D
Sam Nunn 4.0 C-
Barack Obama 1.3 D-
Evan Bayh 3.6 C
Joe Biden 3.7 D
Basically Obama has shown he can appeal strongly to black voters and the group Pew Foundation called the "liberals"(largely urban professionals). The two questions for the Democrats are who would help them win the presidency in a year when it is theirs to loose-and who would be a strong candidate in 8 year after Obama has completed a second term.

Jim Webb, Ted Strickland and John Edwards all have some possible political credibility-and all could plausibly run for president in 8 years. Some of the other candidates, like Al Gore or Sam Nunn are simply too old for that to be realistic. Jim Webb is interesting because he is the only Democratic VP possibility other than Al Gore who has resisted H-1b donations successfully. Strickland would have some appeal to religious voters—but I suspect that the oratory of Huckabee would simply prove superior in that respect. Overall, Webb is the man who really would add something to the Democratic ticket.

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