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Vice Presidential Bios

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Potential VP Bios: Democrats

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The following is a list of potential candidates for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, with analysis from senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. It is meant to provide a brief glimpse at the political plusses and minuses of each. It is not meant to be wholly authoritative or comprehensive and candidates are likely to be added or subtracted based on events going forward.

Evan Bayh

  • Senator from Indiana (1999-present)

  • Attorney at Baker and Daniels (1997-1998)

  • Governor of Indiana (1989-1997)

  • Indiana Secretary of State (1986-1988)

  • Undergraduate degree from Indiana University, law degree from University of Virginia

  • Age 52

  • Married, 2 children

  • Episcopalian

Vaughn's View: Many Democrats wondered why Bayh passed on the chance to run for president himself as he's just the sort of moderate, Midwest candidate that could win in states like Ohio, Iowa and Indiana. He has executive experience in addition to time spent in the Senate and would be a safe, solid pick. But Obama is not the "safe" candidate in the race and may benefit more from someone representing more of the "change" he's promising.

Joe Biden

  • Former candidate for the Democratic nomination for president (2008)

  • Also ran unsuccessfully for 1988 Democratic nomination for president

  • Senator from Delaware (1973-present)

  • Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

  • Former Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee

  • Undergraduate degree University of Delaware, law degree from Syracuse University

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: After crashing and burning in his 1988 presidential campaign, Biden more than erased those memories with his strong performance during this year's primary - even if it didn't show up in the votes. Biden's foreign policy expertise could help calm concerns that Obama isn't prepared to take the reins of one of the most powerful positions in the world. But his penchant for saying things he later has had to apologize for could make the campaign nervous anytime the cameras show up.

Michael Bloomberg

  • Mayor of New York City (2002-present)

  • Founded financial news service Bloomberg LP in 1981

  • Several positions at Salomon Brothers (1966-1981)

  • Undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, M.B.A. from Harvard University

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Texas

  • Age 66

  • Single (divorced), 2 children

  • Jewish

Vaughn's View: Bloomberg has the distinction of being the only person on the list for both Obama and John McCain. While the New York City Mayor was elected as a Republican, he's since become an independent and appears to be leaning slightly closer to the Democratic nominee after several high-profile meetings throughout the past year. Bloomberg could help Obama among Jewish voters who have their concerns about him. But it's less clear whether Bloomberg would help bring any battleground states.

Bob Casey

  • Senator from Pennsylvania (2007-present)

  • Treasurer of Pennsylvania (2005-2006)

  • Auditor of Pennsylvania (1997-2005)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania (2002)

  • Private law practice (1991-1996)

  • Undergraduate degree from Holy Cross, law degree from Catholic University

  • Age 48

  • Married, 4 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Like Ed Rendell, Casey could help Obama strengthen his position in Pennsylvania, especially among the more socially conservative part of the party. Then again, he wasn't much help as an Obama surrogate during the primaries and hasn't shown the kind of dominance in the state that would make him an obvious candidate.

Wes Clark

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Democratic presidential nomination (2004)

  • Managing Director of Merchant Banking (2001-2003)

  • NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1997-2000)

  • Commander in Chief of U.S. Southern Command, Panama (1996-1997)

  • Led military negotiations for Bosnian Peace Accords (1995)

  • U.S. Army (1968-2000), rose to become a four-star General

  • Age 63

  • Married, 1 child

  • Catholic

Vaughn's View: Anytime you've run for president and also held the title, Supreme Allied Commander, you're probably worth a look as a running mate. Clark would help add more military heft to the ticket than just about anyone else but he's been more a politician than general for the past four years and he did endorse Clinton in the primaries which could hurt any prospects he might have.

Hillary Clinton

  • Former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination (2008)

  • Senator from New York (2001-present)

  • First Lady of the United States (1993-2001)

  • First Lady of Arkansas (1979-1981, 1983-1993)

  • Attorney at Rose Law Firm, (1977-1992)

  • Asst. Professor of Law, director of legal aid clinic, University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, (1974-1977)

  • Impeachment Inquiry Staff, House Judiciary Committee (1974)

  • Staff attorney at the Children's Defense Fund (1973-1974)

  • Undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, law degree from Yale University

  • Age 60

  • Married, 1 child

  • Methodist

Vaughn's View: She won over 18 million votes in the Democratic primary and claims the support of voters who could be crucial in Midwestern battleground states. Her political strengths are obvious - but so are her drawbacks. Chief among those are her husband, the former president whose associations, business and presidential library funding have raised ethical questions. But until she is eliminated, Clinton has to be considered a strong possible choice for Obama.

Tom Daschle

  • Former Senator from South Dakota (1987-2005)

  • Senate Majority Leader (2001-2003)

  • Senate Minority Leader (1995-2001, 2003-2005)

  • Representative from South Dakota (1979-1987)

  • Undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University

  • Age 60

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Daschle didn't help his chances by not delivering his home state of South Dakota on the day Obama clinched the nomination but he was an early backer and, as the former Senate Majority Leader, brings a level of experience few others on Obama's list can match. Daschle knows where those levers of power are but he also brings the baggage of years worth of partisan warfare that clash with Obama's stated desire to reach across the aisle.

Chris Dodd

  • Former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination (2008)

  • Senator from Connecticut (1981-present)

  • Representative from Connecticut (1975-1981)

  • U.S. Army National Guard (1968-1975)

  • Peace Corps Volunteer (1966-1988)

  • Undergraduate degree from Providence College, law degree from University of Louisville

  • Age 64

  • Married, 2 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Despite a crowded and top-heavy Democratic presidential field, Dodd didn't wilt and gained a lot of admiration, if not votes, from his party's rank-and-file. He has a lot of experience in many policy areas, especially on economic issues and would be an able elder statesman. But Dodd has little pizzazz and if it's Senate experience Obama wants, there are others who fit that bill better.

Chuck Hagel

  • Republican Senator from Nebraska (1997-present)

  • Not running for re-election this year

  • Co-founded VANGUARD Cellular Systems, Inc.

  • Investment banker and business executive in Washington and Omaha

  • Deputy Administrator of Veteran Affairs (1981-1982)

  • Administrative assistant to Representative John Y. McCollister 1971-1977

  • Newscaster and talk show host in Omaha (1969-1971)

  • Vietnam veteran

  • Degrees from Brown Institute for Radio and Television and University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Age 61

  • Episcopalian

Vaughn's View: A great choice if Obama wants to tap a Republican to demonstrate his desire to reach across party lines. And Hagel's opposition to the war would help illustrate that it's not simply a partisan issue. But how would loyal Democrats feel about an otherwise conservative Republican rising to a position where he may one day be the party's leader?

James Jones

  • Special envoy for Middle East Security (2007-present)

  • Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command (2003-2006)

  • U.S. Marine Corps Commandant (1999-2003)

  • U.S. Marines (1967-2007), served in Vietnam (1967-1968)

  • Undergraduate degree from Georgetown

  • Age 50

  • Married, 4 children

Vaughn's View: Along with Wes Clark, Jones is another former general once called Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and has been a critic of the Bush administration's execution of the war in Afghanistan. His name was reportedly mentioned in discussions between congressional leaders and Obama's vice presidential search team. But Jones is far less known than Clark and would take a lot of vetting and preparation before being ready for the rigors of a national campaign.

Tim Kaine

  • Governor of Virginia (2006-present)

  • Elected to become Chairman of the Southern Governors Association in summer 2008

  • Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (2002-2006)

  • Mayor of Richmond, Virginia (1998-2002)

  • Member of Richmond City Council (1994-1998)

  • Attorney in private practice

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Missouri, law degree from Harvard University

  • Age 50

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Like Jim Webb, Kaine is an attractive choice because he could help bring Virginia into Obama's column. His executive experience and his distance from Washington fits nicely with Obama's themes and his presence could help moderate the party's image. But Kaine's experience is limited and he's an unknown on the national stage.

John Kerry

  • Unsuccessful Democratic nominee for president (2004)

  • Senator from Massachusetts (1985-present)

  • Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (1983-1985)

  • First Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex County (1977-1982)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for U.S. House (1972)

  • U.S. Navy (1966-1969), served in Vietnam

  • Undergraduate degree from Yale, law degree from Boston College

  • Married, 2 children, 3 stepchildren

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: The 2004 presidential nominee brings some instant "gravitas" to a ticket and could provide a reminder to some voters disgruntled with Bush that he could have been the president for the past four years. On the other hand, Kerry is viewed by many Democrats as having run a poor campaign and represents the past of the party rather than the future.

Claire McCaskill

  • Senator from Missouri (2007-present)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for governor of Missouri (2004)

  • Jackson County Prosecutor (1992-1998)

  • Missouri state representative (1982-1988)

  • Undergraduate and law school degrees from University of Missouri

  • Age 54

  • Married, 3 children, 4 stepchildren

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Like Sebelius, McCaskill has been a shining light for her party in a usually reliable Republican state. Missouri is more important in the Electoral College calculations and anything to turn it blue would have to be a tempting consideration. But she may have a better chance if she had been elected governor instead of senator. And the issue of selecting a woman not named Clinton is again a tricky one.

Janet Napolitano

  • Governor of Arizona (2003-present)

  • Arizona attorney general (1999-2003)

  • U.S. Attorney (1993-1997)

  • Attorney in private practice (1984-1993)

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Santa Clara, law degree from University of Virginia

  • Age 50

  • Single

  • Methodist

Vaughn's View: Another woman on this list with some of the same drawbacks. But Napolitano is the only one from Arizona, something that would at the least stick a jab in the eye of John McCain and at best could put his home state into play. She has more executive experience than the other women on the list but a move like this could be stretching too far.

Bill Nelson

  • Senator from Florida (2001-present)

  • Florida Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshal (1995-2000)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for governor of Florida

  • Representative from Florida (1979-1991)

  • Astronaut, crewmember on Space Shuttle Columbia, January 12-18, 1986

  • U.S. Army and Army Reserve (1965-71)

  • Undergraduate degree from Yale University, law degree from University of Virginia

  • Age 65

  • Married, 2 children

  • Episcopalian

Vaughn's View: Nelson is a natural to be on the short list if he can help Obama carry his home state of Florida. He'd be a solid choice even if all he did was make Republicans divert more of their resources to their must-win state. But Florida may not prove as important in this election as some other battleground states where another choice could help and Nelson's long Senate career could bring some baggage.

Sam Nunn

  • Co-chairman and CEO of Nuclear Threat Initiative (2001-present)

  • Attorney, King & Spalding law firm (1997-2001)

  • Senator From Georgia (1972-1997)

  • Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (1987-1995)

  • Georgia House of Representatives 1968-1972

  • Undergraduate and law degrees from Emory University

  • Age 69

  • Married, 2 children

  • Christian

Vaughn's View: If Obama is looking for a "graybeard" with a lot of gravitas, Nunn would be worth a look. The former Georgia senator has the foreign policy experience to bolster Obama's resume and is hard to paint as an extremist. But has he been out of the game for too long?

Jack Reed

  • Senator from Rhode Island (1997-present)

  • Representative from Rhode Island (1991-1997)

  • Rhode Island State Senate (1985-1990)

  • U.S. Army and Army Reserve (1971-1991)

  • Undergraduate degree from West Point, M.P.P. and law degree from Harvard University

  • Age 58, 1 child

  • Married

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Reed has taken a near-Shermanesque approach to the idea of being on the ticket, telling the Providence Journal, "I have no intention to seek it or even, if offered it, to accept." The Rhode Island senator seems to be an unlikely choice in any event, bringing little to the ticket in terms of geography. But the West Point graduate does have deep expertise on national security issues, a quality that can't be dismissed out of hand.

Ed Rendell

  • Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-present)

  • General Chair of the DNC (1999-2001)

  • Mayor of Philadelphia (1992-1999)

  • District Attorney of Philadelphia (1978-1985)

  • Undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania, law degree from Villanova

  • Age 64

  • Married, 1 child

  • Jewish

Vaughn's View: The Pennsylvania governor may be one of the few possible choices who could lock down a pivotal state for Obama in the fall and as one of Clinton's biggest supporters, he may help bring some of her disaffected voters back into the fold. But Pennsylvania appears likely to stay in the Democratic column and Rendell hasn't gone through a thorough public vetting process yet.

Bill Richardson

  • Former candidate for the Democratic nomination for president (2008)

  • Governor of New Mexico (2003-present)

  • Secretary of Energy (1998-2001)

  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1998)

  • Representative from New Mexico (1983-1997)

  • Undergraduate degree and M.A. from Tufts University

  • Age 60

  • Married, no children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Although his primary campaign was lackluster, Richardson's relatively early endorsement of Obama gave the Illinois senator a key boost and he could certainly help among Hispanics, a segment of the electorate Obama struggled with in the primary season. Richardson also has a wealth of experience and would likely bring New Mexico with him. But questions remain about Richardson's ability on the campaign trail, especially in front of large groups, and there are concerns that such a ticket might represent a little bit too much change.

Tim Roemer

  • Representative from Indiana (1991-2003)

  • Commissioner on the 9/11 Commission

  • President of the Center for National Policy

  • Congressional staffer for Rep. John Brademas and Sen. Dennis DeConcini

  • Age 51

  • Married, 4 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: An interesting prospect because he represented Indiana in Congress, a state Democrats would like to make a play for, and because he served on the 9/11 Commission, which adds a lot of national security knowledge to the ticket. But the commission's report is not without its critics and it's unclear that Roemer brings much else to help the ticket.

Brian Schweitzer

  • Governor of Montana (2004-present)

  • Montana State USDA Farm Service Agency Committee (1993-1999)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Senate (2000)

  • Oversaw irrigation development projects around the world

  • Owner and operator of farms in several Montana counties

  • Undergraduate degree from Colorado State University, Masters in soil science from Montana State University

  • Age 52

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: A definite "out of the box" pick but this former rancher-turned-politician is popular in his home state of Montana and would be a great way to attract the attention of Westerners Obama wants to woo. He's clung to his guns enough to be endorsed by the National Rifle Association but could be just a little too inexperienced in the ways of Washington to put on this ticket.

Kathleen Sebelius

  • Governor of Kansas (2003-present)

  • Kansas insurance commissioner (1995-2003)

  • Kansas House (1987-1994)

  • Executive director, Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (1978-1986)

  • Special assistant, Kansas secretary of corrections (1975-78)

  • Daughter of former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan

  • Undergraduate degree from Trinity College, M.P.A. University of Kansas

  • Undergraduate degree from Biola University, M.B.A. from University of South Dakota

  • Age 60

  • Married, 2 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Picking a woman could be a way to mollify disgruntled Clinton supporters and Sebelius is a Washington outsider who has led a real Democratic revival in the very Republican state of Kansas. But given the fractious nature of the Democratic primary, could Obama really pick a woman not named Clinton?

Ted Strickland

  • Governor of Ohio (2007-present)

  • Representative from Ohio (1993-1995 and 1997-2007)

  • Licensed psychologist (1982-present)

  • Undergraduate degree from Asbury College, Masters in Guidance Counseling from University of Kentucky, Masters in Divinity from Asbury, PhD in counseling psychology from University of Kentucky

  • Age 66

  • Married, no children

  • Methodist

Vaughn's View: Here's what Strickland has said about the prospects of being on the ticket: "Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve." Can't get any clearer than that but Strickland remains on the list because in politics, anything can happen. Not to mention the fact that he's the governor of Ohio -- the state which narrowly decided the last presidential race.

Tom Vilsack

  • Counsel for Dorsey & Whitney (present)

  • Governor of Iowa (1999-2007)

  • Undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, law degree from Albany Law School

  • Age 57

  • Married, 2 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: He's another in a sizable list of Midwest politicians who appear safe, if somewhat boring. The former governor of Iowa could help Obama nail down that state, but it's one trending Democratic anyway and someone like an Evan Bayh has all that Vilsack brings to the table and more.

Mark Warner

  • Candidate for Senate in Virginia (present)

  • Governor of Virginia (2002-2006)

  • Chair, National Governors Association (2004-2005)

  • Unsuccessful candidate for Senate in Virginia (1996)

  • Chairman of Virginia Democratic Party (1993-1995)

  • Commonwealth Transportation Board (1990-1994)

  • High-tech businessman who co-founded the company that became Nextel and the largest technology-based venture capital fund in the mid-Atlantic

  • Undergraduate degree from George Washington, law degree from Harvard

  • Age 53

  • Married, 3 children

  • Presbyterian

Vaughn's View: It says something about both the growing strength of the Democratic Party in Virginia and the prospects for the party there this fall that three politicians from the state make this list. But Warner is by far the most unlikely one to get any serious consideration. He's already the odds-on favorite to capture a Senate seat for the party in November and would do more for a President Obama by helping widen Democrats' majority in that body than being on the ticket.

Jim Webb

  • Senator from Virginia (2007-present)

  • Secretary of the Navy (1987-1988)

  • United States Marines (1968-1972)

  • Counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (1977-1981)

  • Author of eight books

  • Undergraduate degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, law degree from Georgetown University

  • Age 62

  • Married, 5 children, 1 step-child

  • Protestant

Vaughn's View: A Vietnam veteran who's made his political career out of opposing the war in Iraq would put an exclamation point on Obama's anti-war candidacy and he was once seen as a leading contender for the slot. But the Virginia senator took himself out of the running with the following statement: "I communicated to Senator Obama and his presidential campaign my firm intention to remain in the United States Senate, where I believe I am best equipped to serve the people of Virginia and this country. Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President."

Anthony Zinni

  • MIC Industries, Board of Advisers (2005-present)

  • Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command (1997-2000)

  • Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command (1996-1997)

  • U.S. Marines (1961-2000), served in Vietnam

  • Undergraduate degree from Villanova, Masters in international relations from Salvae Regina College, Masters in management from Central Michigan University

  • Married, 3 children

  • Roman Catholic

Vaughn's View: Yet another retired general on the list, this one a fierce critic of the war in Iraq and one with fist-hand experience in the Middle East. Zinni is also a familiar face as a commentator on television. But as is the case with Gen. James Jones, Zinni may not be ready for prime time in a national campaign just yet.

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