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Analyst rules out dream ticket -

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Analyst rules out dream ticket

The World Today - Tuesday, 3 June , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: And for his perspective on the race for the White House I spoke earlier to our
regular US election commentator, Professor of Politics at Stanford University, Dr Simon Jackman:

So Simon Jackman, is this interminable race finally going to come to an end this week?

SIMON JACKMAN: All the signs are that it may well be coming to an end. The latest news here in the
United States this afternoon our time is that Hillary is expected to make some kind of announcement
in New York tomorrow night after the last two states finally conduct their primaries - Montana and
South Dakota.

ELEANOR HALL: Hillary Clinton is saying that she is not out yet though. I mean she won big in
Puerto Rico, she seems to be pinning her hopes on super delegates changing their minds. Making a
case she has won the popular vote. Is it likely that she will swing any super delegates?

SIMON JACKMAN: I think the super delegates have heard both sides of this argument many, many times
now. It is difficult for me to believe that there are super delegates out there that haven't formed
a view and I think the only issue, frankly, is timing.

ELEANOR HALL: Senator Obama is certainly talking as though he has moved into general election
campaign mode.

SIMON JACKMAN: Absolutely. That has been very distinctly frankly from the Obama campaign in the
last couple of weeks. Increasingly he is talking about the general election fight and referring to
Hillary as a partner in that and less of a primary opponent.

ELEANOR HALL: Now Senator Obama has asked for a meeting with Hillary Clinton. How do you read that?

SIMON JACKMAN: Oh look. I find it difficult to believe that he'll tap her on the shoulder to be the
vice-presidential running mate. I just can't help but think there has just been too much bad blood
between these two campaigns over this heated and prolonged context and frankly, I mean thinking
ahead, suppose Hillary does become the vice-president of the United States, I can't imagine being
Barack Obama and waking up every morning in the White House with Hillary and Bill in the
vice-presidential mansion. Having to sort of manage them.

ELEANOR HALL: Certainly, this has been your consistent line. Last time we talked about the joint
ticket option, you were pouring cold water on it but there is talk that Bill Clinton is lobbying
for that. A lot has changed in this campaign. Isn't it now a possibility?

SIMON JACKMAN: Look, anything is possible. It has been a remarkable year and it would be a very
brave person to rule that right out but there is another school of thought and it says that a -
there has been a lot of bad blood between these two campaigns and b - maybe a black man and a woman
on the ticket is too much of a pill to swallow.

ELEANOR HALL: Too firsts at once, you mean?

SIMON JACKMAN: Yeah, I think that is right and the other thing, Hillary is a polarising figure. Not
only within her own party but frankly all along in what is otherwise a very bad year for
Republicans on paper, perhaps the best thing they could have hoped for - the Republicans that is -
is that Hillary Clinton became the nominee.

I think nothing would have rallied Republicans more than had Hillary Clinton become the nominee.

I think if Barack Obama establishes his place at the top of the ticket and then nominates a figure
like Webb from Virginia who was a Republican. Was Ronald Reagan's, served in Ronald Reagan's
administration. If he nominates someone like that, I think that is a dynamite ticket whereas I
think nominating Hillary Clinton will be a great mobilising tool to help bring Republicans out in
November motivated by their dislike of the Clintons.

ELEANOR HALL: So you are saying that rather than a dream ticket, it could bring all the negatives

SIMON JACKMAN: I tend to think so. There is that side to it. I think this is wishful thinking by
Democrats frankly who wish they could all just kiss and make up and somehow manage these two
dynamite candidates that have been going at it hammers and tongs now for basically 12 months.

You know this is Democrats thinking, wouldn't it be great if we could have both of them and save us
from this awful choice.

ELEANOR HALL: There has been a lot of talk of this long nomination process damaging the Democrats
chances in November, how tight do you think the general election is likely to be?

SIMON JACKMAN: It is very interesting. Right now I think the polls are reflecting this intense
fight that has been going on for a long time now. I think once this thing settles down and the
fundamentals of this election cycle start to reassert themselves, I expect to see a Democrat
advantage start to re-establish itself in the polls.

We've got some data from this project that I am part of showing that there has been some damage. We
are seeing significant numbers of Hillary supporters. People that said they voted for Hillary
Clinton in the primaries saying that there is no way that they could vote for Barack Obama in the
general. Up to 31 per cent of Hillary supporters.

ELEANOR HALL: Gee, that is a high number.

SIMON JACKMAN: That is a very high number and when we first saw that number it really caught our
attention and other polls are showing similar numbers. I suspect that by the time of the convention
which will be nothing short of a coronation of Barack Obama, this will settle down to a more
conventional Democrat versus Republican contest.

In a year in which things are looking very, very grim to the incumbent party, the Republicans,
every day when you go to fill up your car in this country at the moment and I expect in Australia,
you are reminded of just how badly things have gone over the last couple of years.

Gas prices here are just soaring out of control. The economy is in the doldrums. The country is
still mired down in Iraq.

By any reasonable standard, you would have to think that the country is lining up to change
parties, to change the party of the incumbent in the White House.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Dr Simon Jackman, Professor of Politics at Stanford University and our
regular US election commentator.