Meehan: Warren wouldn’t balance, bring swing state appeal to Clinton

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STATE HOUSE — While Sen. Elizabeth Warren may be able to pull left-leaning voters to the polls for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a ticket mate who could provide “balance” and help Clinton win a swing state is more likely, according to former Congressman Marty Meehan.

During a June 9 interview on Boston Herald Radio, Meehan, who served 14 years in Congress and is now president of the University of Massachusetts, said presidential nominees often seek in running mates an ability to help rack up votes in battleground states.

“Obviously Elizabeth Warren doesn’t bring that to the table,” said Meehan, who mentioned Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as a possibility and touted his executive experience as governor of that state.

“I think having a governor is a good thing,” said Meehan. “I would think he would be a more likely candidate, but we’ll see. I don’t really know.”

During an interview with Morning Meeting hosts Hillary Chabot and Jaclyn Cashman, Meehan said, “We have the first woman nominee of a major party. And to have a woman vice presidential nominee at the same time, that would be interesting. And I don’t know, if I had to guess, if I had to predict, I would predict it would be somebody that provides some balance.”

Meehan added, “What’s important for Democrats in presidential races is to try to appeal to the center of the county. I can remember George W. Bush used to kid with me. He used to say ‘Marty, the problem with you Democrats, a lot of people in the party, you don’t understand the culture of the center of the country.’ And there’s some truth to that . . . I think a state like Virginia is important. I think winning Ohio is important, and Florida.”

Bill Clinton chose Tennessee Sen. Al Gore as his vice presidential candidate in 1992, Meehan said, because he was concerned with “making sure that the ticket could win in certain states in the south.” Clinton was also a southern Democrat from Arkansas.

Sen. Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in many states during this year’s primaries and was the favorite of left-leaning primary voters. But Meehan says Clinton has an opportunity to reel those voters in.

“If Hillary Clinton isn’t able to get the base of the Democratic Party, the liberal base of the Democratic Party behind her, that would be an issue,” he said. “The question is, can she through the convention process, through her long Democratic ties, can she unite the party without having somebody from the left on the ticket?”

Turnout is always a determining factor in elections, and Meehan noted Warren appears to have the ability to deliver her devoted followers.

“She has in a short period of time risen in terms of her stature within the Democratic Party in the United States Senate and frankly as a spokesperson for the left. It is rare to see somebody in a first term ascend the way she has,” he said.

Warren stayed out of the Clinton-Sanders battle until it was mostly settled, endorsing Clinton late last week and pledging to do “everything I can to help Hillary Clinton get elected.” In an MSNBC interview with Rachel Maddow, Warren said Clinton has not discussed a vice presidential role with her, but Warren made clear that she believes she could, if necessary, step in and become president and commander in chief.

Meehan joined the many who view this year’s presidential election as unlike any other. He said he thought Trump’s comments critical of Sen. John McCain’s military service were “going to absolutely kill him” and noted Trump prevailed in South Carolina, a “strong military state,” after criticizing President Bush’s handling of the Iraq War.

“I’ve never seen a presidential race like this in my lifetime,” Meehan said. “I think you’d have to read history books and determine whether other races were more negative. It’s extraordinary the things that he says and not only survives but wins primaries after saying it. I will say that I watched more Republican presidential debates this year than I’ve ever watched. They were entertaining. They were enlightening. So he has brought something to the political process in that people paid attention.”

The Washington Post recently “narrowed” Clinton’s list of potential vice presidential candidates to 27 individuals, including former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

— Written by Michael P. Norton

Copyright State House News Service