I had the opportunity to do a quick telephone interview with Sen. Barack Obama Monday when he was in Las Cruces for a Memorial Day event. You can read that HERE.
I asked him the obligatory questions all New Mexico political reporters ask Democrat front-runners every four years: Is Bill Richardson on his short list for vice president? I knew he and Richardson were together in Cruces, so I said, "He's probably standing right by you now, right?" Obama acknowledged they were traveling together, but said, "He's on the other side of the bus."
Basically his answer is that he's not ready to spill those beans, though Richardson is "one of the best public servants we have in American life."
I asked why he was in New Mexico on Memorial Day when all states have veterans. He initially said, "Well New Mexico obviously has some just outstanding veterans that I wanted to make sure to honor." But before I could say, "Don't all the states have outstanding veterans?" he started talking about New Mexico as a battleground state."
Not bad. A lot of lesser politicians I've interviewed would have just left it at the feel-good glad-handing statement.
Though many pundits have virtually declared Obama the Democratic nominee, pointing out the mathematical improbability of Hillary Clinton catching up with him, Obama was careful to mention at least a couple of times in our brief talk that he's not yet won that prize. He talked about making an effort to reach out to Clinton supporters around the country "should I be fortunate enough to get the nomination" and said he's not discussing his vice presidential choices "because I haven't locked down the nomination yet. "
I got the impression this state will be seeing a lot more of Obama as well as John McCain, who also was in New Mexico Monday.
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