Senate minority leader cautions Gore over choice of running mate
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle cautioned Al Gore's presidential campaign Thursday to be careful about picking a running mate from the Senate who comes from a state with a GOP governor as Senate Democrats grow more hopeful of recapturing the majority in the November election.
If Gore selects a member of the Senate as his running mate, that could put a Republican governor in a position to name a Republican to fill the Senate seat.
"What I said was that as they consider all the factors, I hope that one
of the factors will be who the governor is," Daschle, D-South Dakota, told CNN. "It shouldn't be the only factor, it doesn't have to be the predominant factor, but it really should be a factor in the mix."
Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, cautions Vice President Gore that if he selects a member of the Senate as his running mate, that could put a Republican governor in a
position to name a Republican to fill the Senate seat.
As Gore decides who he will select as his running mate, speculation surrounds several Democratic senators, including John Kerry, of Massachusetts; Joe Lieberman, of Connecticut; Bob Graham, of Florida; and Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois. All come from states with Republican governors.
Graham, who led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1994
when the Democrats lost the majority, said of Daschle he can "feel his pain."
"It's a legitimate consideration. Tom has worked very hard at -- and I think
very effectively at -- getting the Democrats in a position to retake the majority
of the Senate. He's legitimately concerned with actions that might stand in the
way of achieving that objective," Graham told CNN.
Lieberman said he teased Daschle about the issue, joking, "My mother isn't
happy to hear that."
Other senators said to be in the running to be Gore's No. 2 man -- Evan Bayh, D-Indiana., and John Edwards, D-North Carolina -- both come from states with Democrats in the governor's mansion.
Senate Democrats picked up a seat Wednesday as former Gov. Zell
Miller of Georgia was sworn-in to replace Republican Paul Coverdell, who died
last week of a cerebral hemorrhage.
The political landscape of Congress and the White House was the subject of
a Senate Democratic luncheon Thursday attended by Gore campaign chairman Bill Daley, adviser Bob Shrum and strategist James Carville. Senators said the lunch was intended to give a "lay of the land" as they go home for their month-long summer recess.
One senator said much of the discussion surrounded whether Dick Cheney
will help or hurt Gore and the Democrats.
"The consensus was it helps. Carville told us it was '70 percent
relief, 30 percent glee' for the Democrats," one senator said.
The senator said when Sen. Max Cleland, D-Georgia., asked who Gore's vice
presidential running mate should be, Carville replied: "In this room? I'm not
going to answer that question."