(AFP) – May 18, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, having failed in his own bid for the Republicans' White House nomination, said Sunday he wanted to run as John McCain's vice presidential pick.
On the Democratic side, Senator Joseph Biden said he could not refuse an offer to run as his party's number two, while Senator Jim Webb was coy about his own ambitions.
Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister popular with the religious right, told NBC television: "There's no one I would rather be on a ticket with than John McCain."
He said that during his unsuccessful primary campaign against McCain, "there was no one who was more complimentary of him publicly and privately" than himself.
"But whether or not I do the best for him, that's something that only he can decide," added Huckabee, 52.
"I'm going to support him because I think he's the right person for America. I think he has the kind of seasoning and maturity that this country needs."
Pundits say McCain needs to balance his ticket for November's presidential election with a younger politician. At 72 next January, the Arizona senator would be the oldest president sworn in to a first term.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has also said he would be interested, despite the bad blood spilt between the wealthy business executive and McCain when they were both running for the Republican nomination.
Among the Democrats, the "dream ticket" scenario being floated by some is for Barack Obama to select Hillary Clinton as his VP nominee to heal the party's wounds after a long and bruising nominating fight.
But it isn't everyone's dream, and in fact is seen as a long-shot by most pundits. And Marine veteran Webb is one name touted to give national-security heft to the relatively inexperienced Obama. Webb's state of Virginia would also be a coveted prize for November.
Asked on NBC about the speculation, the former navy secretary in Ronald Reagan's Republican administration said: "At this point, no one's asking; no one's talking; and I'm not that interested."
Asked for his response if he were approached by Obama or Clinton, Webb added: "I would highly discourage them is probably the best way to say it."
Biden, the chairman of the Senate's foreign relations committee who was a short-lived candidate in this year's Democratic race, was less coy.
"Well, you know, anybody that's asked by their nominee to be their running mate, you'd have to consider it. How could you just blow it off? You can't do that," he told ABC.
"But I don't anticipate that happening," the Delaware senator added.
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