Schweitzer Calls VP Talk ‘Ridiculous’

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer said the only people pushing his name onto lists of potential vice presidential candidates are Internet bloggers with too much time on their hands, and dismissed the speculation as “ridiculous.”

Schweitzer occasionally surfaces as someone Barack Obama might pick for a running mate. However, he rarely is at the top of the list and is not among those being discussed as the most likely candidates.

Schweitzer said his name pops up only on a “very long list.” The governor said “nut jobs” on the blogs are keeping his name alive.

He said no one from the Obama campaign, or connected to it, has talked to him about the job.

“No one in the adult world is doing this,” Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer said he likes his current job and wants to keep it and run the state for four more years. He demurred when pressed about whether he would accept a place as vice president.

“It’s ridiculous to even talk about it,” Schweitzer said.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester helped fuel speculation when he mentioned Schweitzer as a potential VP pick earlier this month on a cable news show.

The fellow Democrat says he thinks Schweitzer has the credentials for the job, and probably has made the lists because he impresses people with his knowledge of the issues. Still, he thinks Schweitzer will remain governor.

“Brian would make a great vice president — and he makes an even better governor for Montana. Selfishly, that’s where I want to keep him,” Tester said.

Tester said he has no idea if Schweitzer is seriously being considered.

“(Obama) is going to pick the person that is going to be the best for the country,” Tester said. “If Brian fits that mold, then Brian fits that mold. If somebody else does, then somebody else will be picked.”

But a political analyst in the West said Schweitzer is an unlikely choice.

Kenneth Bickers, from the University of Colorado, said Schweitzer’s name is being batted around out of speculation. And as the governor of a small state, he probably can’t bring much to a presidential campaign.

“He would actually be a good choice on merits, but he is not well-known nationally,” Bicker said. “The governor of Montana is just not well-known outside of Montana.”

Bickers said most VP list speculation makes little sense. He says there is no proof that a vice president sways elections in any way.

“Most of the discussion of vice president selection is overwrought and gets covered because there is so little else to cover at this time of the campaign season,” Bickers said.

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