The Clinton/Powell Veepstakes

The Veepstakes. Will the President stay with Joe Biden? What about Romney's choice? Who will it be? A he or a she?

Mitt Romney has said he wants someone as his running mate who would be ready to be president from day one. What Republican would be better than Colin Powell?

Watching Tavis Smiley interview Powell about his new book It Worked for Me on PBS in June, my gut feeling was Powell wants back in the arena. (Powell hasn't made a presidential endorsement yet.)

That PBS interview reminded me of the time I interviewed OJ Simpson Prosecutor Christopher Darden for the CBS affiliate KIRO-AM Radio in Seattle in 1996. There was much talk of Powell not for vice president but for president back then. Darden really wanted Powell to go for it. That was a dozen years before President Barack Obama went for it.

For those who have bemoaned the lack of someone who has served in our armed forces on either presidential ticket this time around, Powell has those credentials. A retired four star army general. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Together with his foreign policy bona fides. Secretary of State. National Security Adviser.

I have been spending some time in Ohio the past few weeks where I was born and raised. Went to public schools there grades K-12. Just spending some time back home in a few Ohio cities. Taking the pulse of what folks think about this race. You can take the girl out of Ohio, but you can't take Ohio out of the girl.

Ohio is seen to be a key swing state this November if not the swing state in deciding who will be president in 2012. Pollsters predict a squeaker there. It wouldn't be the first time in recent history. Putting Ohio in President George W. Bush's win column in 2004, gave him a second term.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been an excellent and indefatigable Secretary of State during the Obama administration. How many miles has she traveled and to how many nations? How about rewarding her hard work with the vice presidential spot on the Democratic ticket?

It's no secret Vice President Joe Biden was offered a choice between the vice presidency and secretary of state four years ago. He chose to be #2. However, as former Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and now with his experience as vice president, he certainly has the credentials to be Secretary of State. Why not have them swap positions?

There's precedent for switching horses in midstream. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had three vice presidents during his four elected terms. The last was Harry Truman who became president when FDR died in office.

Yes, Barack Obama has appointed two women to the U.S. Supreme Court, one of whom is also the first Hispanic. Thank you, Mr. President. But how about Secretary Clinton as vice president? If she were to run for president in 2016, it would give her a leg up in winning if she is your vice president and continue your legacy through her administration. Just like with President Ronald Reagan and his vice president who became president in our lifetime, George Herbert Walker Bush. Many saw his administration as a continuation of the Reagan legacy.

Of course, if President Obama wanted a really daring and provocative choice there's the other Clinton, Bill. But is he constitutionally available? The law in this area is unsettled. The 22nd amendment to the Constitution says you can't be president twice, but what about vice president instead?

Richard Nixon served as President Eisenhower's vice president for two terms before being elected twice as president himself. His having served as vice president twice did not disqualify him from serving as president for two terms. Bill Clinton would be doing it in reverse. He has already been tapped to give a keynote address at the Democratic Convention in North Carolina. Don't forget President Gerald Ford was considered as Ronald Reagan's vice presidential running mate in 1980. Slightly different situation in that Ford had served less than a term as president. But still. Something to think about. Former President Clinton is still very popular with voters.

The veep spot is number two, 'tis true. But President Obama and Governor Romney, please choose for your running mates, the best America has to offer. Don't settle for second place, second best. Please pick first-rate women and men. After all, America is a first-rate country, and its citizenry deserves the very best.