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Commentary: Forget an Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama ticket

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  • Martin: Democratic presidential 'dream ticket' not likely
  • Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton in battle to secure presidential nomination
  • Clinton doesn't want to be overshadowed by Obama, columnist says
  • Obama wants to bring change, fresh face to office, columnist says
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By Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor
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(CNN) -- Democrats across the country are abuzz over the possibility of the "dream ticket" featuring Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama running for the White House in November.


Roland S. Martin says the likelihood of a Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama ticket is not likely to happen.

In the words of one of "The Sopranos" characters, "Fuggetaboutit!"

Look, this might sound exciting and history-making to have a woman and an African-American competing against the Republicans, but there are multiple reasons why this won't happen.

1. Clinton will not be overshadowed by an underling. Clinton is hugely popular in Democratic circles, but truth be told, that pales in comparison to the love and affection showered on Obama. This is a guy who brings people to tears just by speaking, and attracts folks on the left, right and the disenfranchised.

When you have the children of elected officials putting pressure on their parents (Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is one example.) to support this guy, you know he is touching people in a place others haven't in 40 years. The role of a VP is to be supportive of a presidential candidate, not someone who overshadows them.

2. Obama would not want to carry Clinton baggage. He has offered a vision of change, and having to answer to the years of strife under the Clintons would be too much. It would make sense to have a fresh face serving as his vice president who doesn't engender anger among some in the Democratic Party, and definitely the GOP. An Obama run would be about going after Republicans and independents, and Clinton being on the ticket would make that very difficult.

3. Way too much bad blood between these two during this campaign. A lot of folks say that George H.W. Bush rankled Ronald Reagan by declaring his economic plan "voodoo economics." That didn't keep Reagan from adding Bush to the ticket. But Bush was one of these loyal guys who would have done anything for the party ... and himself. I don't see that for Clinton and Obama.

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Sure, their attacks on one another are what you expect in a campaign, but it has gotten very personal. Obama says she is a return to the "politics of old," and that doesn't bring a smile to her face. The race-baiting Southern Strategy used by former President Bill Clinton and the surrogates of Sen. Clinton have absolutely angered Obama's camp. There is too much blood on the floor, and you just don't forget that.

4. Being No. 2 is unthinkable for Clinton. She went through the behind-the-scenes battles with Al Gore when he was her husband's vice president. She's not interested in second fiddle and doesn't want to have to fight to be on the stage. For her, it's all or nothing. She's also 60, and being VP to Obama means that if he wins two terms, she'll be 68 running for the highest office in the land. It's not outside the realm of possibility, but she'll have to confront the skeptics who are snipping at the heels of Sen. John McCain, claiming he's too old.

5. Obama doesn't want to be an LBJ. When Lyndon Baines Johnson was the vice president under President John F. Kennedy, he was ostracized and marginalized because of the influence of Robert F. Kennedy. With Bill Clinton serving as consigliere to a President Hillary Clinton, Obama would be on the outside looking in. He knows the likelihood of him doing anything of substance and having influence in a Clinton administration.

Former Democratic candidate Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, when asked if he wanted to be her VP, he said competing with Bill Clinton isn't his cup of tea. Some would say that serving as VP two terms under Clinton would give Obama administrative experience, and he would be 54 when he could run, but I just don't buy it.

Now, as a way out, I would expect to see these two on a ticket only if Clinton is the nominee and they run the numbers and determine that the best chance of winning would be with him. She wants to be president that bad and would discount the bad blood. Then they would hope he accepted or accepts it.

I just don't see any of it happening. This might be seen as a dream ticket, but it is not a match made in heaven.

Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning journalist and CNN contributor. Martin is studying to receive his master's degree in Christian communications at Louisiana Baptist University, and he is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." You can read more of his columns at

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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