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Obama Drama is Over as Biden is VP Choice

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(Danville, California)

As I predicted in this blog just days ago, Sen. Barack Obama has selected Delaware Senator Joe Biden to be his VP running mate. In the end it wasn’t much of a surprise. Word leaked last night to the major media outlets, although the much hyped text message to people’s cell phones never came about. I was officially notified by the Obama campaign at 1:59 a.m. Pacific time, by e-mail. By then, it was old news.
(And I was asleep!)

I had long suggested Obama pick Sen. Hillary Clinton, but Biden was clearly the second best option. Sen. Evan Bayh, Gov. Tim Kaine and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius were just too risky in 2008, and may not have even carried their own states. That’s a “Cardinal sin” in the world of politics; just ask John Edwards and Al Gore. Certainly, the Biden selection has its positives and negatives. So let’s take a look:

PLUSES: Biden should be able to avoid the Gore-Edwards faux pas by winning his home state of Delaware; Biden was born to a working-class, Catholic family in Pennsylvania, and may be able to help there, in what is turning out to be a toss-up state this year; his biggest plus is his 36 years in the Senate, with deep foreign policy and judicial experience. At 65, Biden is almost twenty years older than the rookie Obama and will offer the kind of deep experience that Dick Cheney gave George W. Bush.

MINUSES: Biden has had many career missteps, including a quick exit from the 1988 Presidential race, after he “lifted” quotes from a British lawmaker’s stump speech and added them to his own; he’s often been a “loose cannon” who shoots from the hip to the press, and that could send him “off message” with the Obama campaign. Biden has always prided himself in his independence, saying “I haven’t had a boss in 35 years.”; he is clearly much more liberal that Evan Bayh, so the Democrat’s ticket definitely leans left, and that may hurt appeal to the many independents and undecideds out there.

The big question may be how Hillary Clinton supporters react, especially female voters over age 45. Many have threatened to vote for McCain or not vote at all. Check out www.hireheels.com or Google “PUMAs in Denver” if you don’t believe me.

In any case, John McCain, it’s your turn now. Step up to the plate!

I arrive in Denver Sunday morning and will be there all week for the Democratic National Convention. Please tune in often and tell your friends about the all-new www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, 1949-2008

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(Danville, California)

I was sad to hear of the death of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, (D-OH). The Congresswoman was another one of the real characters I met on the Presidential campaign trail this year. To my good fortune, I had a great interview with her the night Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

I saw Jones in action for the first time the night before. She spoke at a rally for Sen. Hillary Clinton at the University of Pennsylvania. You have to understand, not only did Hillary speak that night, but so did daughter Chelsea; husband Bill; Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; and Philly Mayor Michael Nutter.

But the lady who stole the show, was Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who came from Cleveland, Ohio to help the Clintons. Six weeks earlier, her support in Ohio, helped Hillary Clinton stage a dramatic, come-from-behind win in the Ohio primary, effectively saving her entire campaign. Jones's support, in the predominantly African-American Cleveland district she represented, helped Clinton beat Barack Obama.

This was a very courageous show of support. There was tremendous pressure in many African-American communities to "circle the wagons" for Sen. Obama. Congresswoman Jones resisted the pressure, and simply voted her conscience. She felt Hillary Clinton would make a better President, irrespective of gender and race.

After the big 10 point win in Pennsylvania, I interviewed Rep. Jones about how far she was willing to go for Hillary Clinton: "My philosophy is we just take these one state at a time. I will be campaigning with President Clinton in North Carolina," she said. "Then I'm going to Indiana," Jones added. She personified the fact that Clinton was still popular among African Americans, especially women. She thought she could help Clinton carry enough of the black vote to win Indiana. Indeed, that's what happened. She valued loyalty, at a premium, something rare in American politics these days. And she graciously posed for the picture I took at the top of this blog!

I saw some of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones's fiery floor speeches in the U.S. House. While I often disagreed with her partisan politics, I respected her passion. I loved her story, too. She grew up in a working class family, with her dad a skycap at the Cleveland Airport. Despite economic hardships she made it through college and law school, and became a judge in Cleveland. She was then elected to five terms in Congress. She lived the American Dream!

My prayers are with her family. May God Bless Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and her service to this nation.

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