Obama looks inside Beltway

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may be running as an agent of change, but two of his top choices for a running mate are firmly entrenched in Washington.

According to media reports Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Evan Bayh of Indiana are the most likely picks, although Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has also been included in most of the short lists attributed to campaign insiders.

Unless Obama selects Kaine or Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, another Democrat political observers say may be in the running, the ticket will be comprised of two senators from a Congress that has racked up historically low marks.

Chris Kofinis, former communications director for Democrat John Edwards’ presidential bid, said a double bill from the Senate “could complicate the change message.” Both Bayh and Biden have foreign policy credentials that would help fill gaps in Obama’s resume.

Speculation about Biden increased on Tuesday, with top political pundits, like Time magazine’s political guru Mark Halperin, declaring him to be Obama’s choice.

Biden, 66, of Delaware, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is famous for grilling Bush administration officials about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Biden traveled to the war-torn nation of Georgia this week to consult with leaders on how to deal with invading forces from Russia.

“[Biden] would probably insulate Obama from some of the charges that he is weak on foreign affairs, much the same way Dick Cheney did for George Bush eight years ago,” said University of Delaware political science professor Jason Mycoff.

But Biden, who made failed runs for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and this year, does not bring a swing state into play, as Kaine and Bayh would.

Democratic strategist Peter Fenn said Kaine, 50, is too inexperienced.

“He’s a one-term governor with no foreign-policy experience,” Fenn said.

sferrechio@dcexaminer.com

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