Chicago reacts to Obama's running mate

August 23, 2008 4:34:58 PM PDT
In Barack Obama's hometown, there's been a lot of anticipation and speculation over his running mate.While a lot of die-hard Democrats say Joe Biden was the right choice as Obama's running mate, some Democratic voters remain disappointed, even angry that Hillary Clinton wasn't selected.

John McCain Republicans in Illinois say they plan to capitalize on that for the upcoming presidential election.

Appearing relaxed and rested, Barack Obama and wife Michelle boarded a jet headed for the campaign's debut with newly named party vice-presidential running mate Senator Joe Biden.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee announced Biden as his number two on his Web site early Saturday morning after his decision leaked to the media hours before supporters were to learn of his choice by email or text message.

Democrats in Illinois have quickly rallied around Obama's selection. Local party heavyweights say the 65-year-old veteran of three decades in the U.S. senate is strong where the GOP says Obama is weak and has enough foreign policy experience to take on John McCain and the Republicans in the fall.

"Joe's well respected. He came out in county government many years. He's been in the senate for a long time. And well respected. He deals with a lot of criminal just before and now he's in foreign affairs," said Mayor Daley.

The point man in Chicago for John McCain's campaign adds that although the choice of Biden may cause McCain to adjust his thinking about who he will chose as a running mate, it has also created a new support base for the Republicans in the upcoming presidential election.

"There's a lot of Hillary Clinton folks that are very upset the way the primary ended and we're working with them right now and we're getting a lot of support out of Hillary Clinton supporters and I think that the choice that Barack made for joe biden was a nail on the coffin for some of them," said Illinois Republican Jim Durkin, McCain Il. Chairman.

Insiders say Obama's choice of Biden helps him address glaring weaknesses exposed in the battle with Hillary Clinton. Biden's roots are in Pennsylvania, a swing vote state where Barack lost during the primary. They add the campaign could become increasingly negative.

"If this campaign is run the way it should be run, we will be seeing at least some intelligent frameworks for what policies the candidates, both candidates want to frame for the coming year in terms of domestic and foreign policy," said Alan Gitelson, a political science professor at Loyola University in Chicago.

Either way, political analysts say for voters the campaign will be all about choice.

Some polls indicate a highly competitive race at the end of a summer where it appears McCain has been able to gain some ground on Obama.


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