Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vilsack in running for Clinton's VP; Trump to name running mate Friday; CBS says it's Ind. Gov. Pence

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack
Could Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack be Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's running mate? There's increasing chatter that Vilsack "could be emerging as a real contender late in the process," James Hohmann reports for The Washington Post. "He’s a sleeper, but he has several qualities that make him appealing to the Clintons. Vilsack declined to answer questions about whether he’s being vetted during an interview on MSNBC last night, referring questions to the campaign. That’s a surefire indicator that he’s being considered."

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
Republican Donald Trump is expected to name his running mate at 11 a.m. ET on Friday, and CBS News is reporting that his pick will be Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Vilsack, a popular and low-risk choice, was governor of likely swing state Iowa from 1999-2007, Hohmann writes. Vilsack also is well-known in rural America, regions in which Clinton mostly performed poorly in primaries. "With the president’s approval rating rising, Clinton is essentially running to serve Obama’s third term. Vilsack’s work in the administration could help her make that case as she tries to galvanize the Obama coalition."

"Vilsack, like Obama, actively supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, touting it as especially beneficial for farmers," Hohmann writes. "Clinton was an early cheerleader for the TPP negotiations, but she flipped under pressure from labor and the protectionist left. Downplaying the divide, the ag secretary sounded a conciliatory tone during his MSNBC sit-down last night, saying that the deal will either pass or fail before the next president takes office."

Where Vilsack could suffer is that "while he was once chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, he’s not a feisty attack dog—traditionally the role that the vice president plays," Hohmann writes. "Farmers know the 65-year-old. Hispanic and African Americans, millenials and single women—constituencies with which Clinton needs to run up the score—by and large do not. Vilsack also does not speak Spanish," like another possible vice presidential candidate Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

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