Clinton ticket with Obama?
Hillary Clinton probably never was going to be considered as a running mate by Barack Obama. He'd get two Clintons for the price of one, and that might be a high price.
But if there was any question, her continuing challenge to Obama for the nomination probably cinches it.
Of course, there are historical examples in both political parties of presidential candidates who chose a principal competitor as their vice-presidential nominee. Republican Ronald Reagan chose the first George Bush in 1980. Democrat John F. Kennedy in 1960 selected the Senate majority leader at the time, Lyndon Johnson, to round out the ticket. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry chose fellow senator John Edwards, who also had run for president.
But the Democratic fight this cycle has gone on long enough, and has gotten contentious enough - though still using well-padded gloves - that neither of these folks is likely to choose the other.
Hillary getting to choose a running mate remains iffy, though observers have learned never to count the Clintons out. Particularly if Obama keeps getting hammered by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, continuing his Moment In The Sun speaking tour, which caused Obama to condemn more strongly Wright's words, Hillary somehow might attract enough superdelegates for a come-from-behind win.
Edwards, who dropped out several weeks ago, and whose state of North Carolina will vote along with Indiana on Tuesday, May 6, continues to play coy about who he might endorse.
Some think he's hanging back, waiting to see who might be the winner before he commits, in hopes of getting another run at the vice-presidency himself. There's also talk Edwards may be leaning toward Obama, while his wife might favor Hillary. That would be interesting.
Meanwhile, Republican nominee-apparent John McCain is resting up, while the Democrats beat on each other and save him the trouble. He did, however, take time to go to New Orleans for a walking tour, and not only distanced himself from George W. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina, he criticized it.
He's trying to convince Americans that, despite the contentions he would in essence represent a third George W. Bush term, complete with a long-term Iraq War, a continuation of tax cuts for the wealthy, and no universal health insurance, he is actually his own man.
There's enough concern about McCain getting a free ride that the national Democratic party is running some TV ads criticizing McCain's comment that maintain a presence in Iraq for 100 years would "be fine with me."
Both Hillary and Obama have shifted their story lines over the course of the campaign.
Hillary started out as tough, a battle-scarred veteran who knows how to fight the tough fights in Washington, figuring that's what a woman had to do to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. But when the presumed inevitability of her nomination hit the shoals back in February, that tough image she'd built because she thought that was what the voters wanted seemed to become her biggest legacy against the kinder, gentler Obama. After he won some states she had expected to win, she became a softer candidate, almost making cookies on the road. Now she's back on tough, and on connecting with laboring folks.
Obama had seemed to forego mean campaigning and political body blows, saying Americans needed to seek higher ground. But after Hillary won Texas and Ohio, he became more combative and critical. Now, since Pennsylvania, he's back to pressing the flesh in smaller groups, and shooting hoops in basketball crazy Indiana, making more up-close eye contact and fewer soaring stadium speeches.
Some Republicans and Democrats think the strung-out campaign is wearing the candidates and the voting public out, and sapping the Democrats' strength and resources, while the Republicans are left to rest up for the main fight.
But it's also possible that if the race goes down to the wire, and the Democratic candidates literally will have organized and campaigned in virtually every state, they will go into the fall with up-to-date voter lists, organization charts, battle-tested grassroots organizations, and other campaign infrastructure that may help them put on a fall campaign that will be a barn-burner.