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MCCAIN AND OBAMA PLAYING

HIGH STAKES POKER . . .YOUR MOVE, BARAK

ELKHART, Ind. – There was a possible running mate with Barak Obama Wednesday in Indiana, a state that Democrats haven’t won since 1965.

He’s Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh whom Obama told the audience was “one of the finest U.S. senators that we have.” He didn’t introduce him as his running mate, though he is on Obama’s short list of VP choices.

The two Democrats were campaigning in what is usually Republican state, one viewed as a battleground this year. Bayh served for two terms as governor of Indiana. He is son of Sen. Birch Bayh who was senator from Indiana from 1962 to 1980 when he was defeated by Dan Quale.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Evan Bayh is a former supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton.Democrats view Indiana as competitive, but it has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. Fact is, the Republican presidential nominee has taken the Hoosier state every year but twice during the past 72 years, 1936 and 1964.

Indiana polls show Obama running neck-to-neck with John McCain, and some people believe the presence of Bayh on the ticket could seal it for Obama. Also, one news report said Bayh has the potential to help the ticket in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and maybe even Kentucky. How? It didn’t say.

As a Midwesterner and one who hails from a state where the manufacturing industry has been decimated by the recent economic downturn, Bayh is seen as a credible messenger to the blue collar white voters in the Rust Belt — the same voters who Obama struggled to attract during the primaries.

So Indiana’s unemployment rate went from 5.3 percent to 5.8–big deal. Yes it is to the auto workers who were laid off, but that number pales when compared to the nation’s 7.1 percent rate during the Carter administration in the 70s. Auto workers understand that we are at a crossroads in American car manufacturing. GM and Ford are losing their business and must quickly retool and produce hybrid cars with more gas mileage. Meanwhile, there will be layoffs, especially among plants that make the big cars and trucks.

All of the above led to speculation that if Obama had settled on Bayh, he would use this visit to announce the decision. But it was not to be. McCain has made it quite clear that he will balance his decision for a VP on what Obama does. Is that smart? Probably, because this is a game of checkers and when one man makes a move, there must be a move by the other to counter or defeat that move. Interesting? It’s called high stakes poker. The prize–the White House.

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