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Hillary as running mate? Talk resumes

world Updated: Jul 10, 2008 22:43 IST

Barack Obama stoked vice-presidential speculation with an unannounced stop at the Washington law firm of a search team member and then flying on his campaign jet to New York fundraisers with potential pick Hillary Clinton and a second vetter.

Aides were tight-lipped about why Obama and Hillary, along with Caroline Kennedy, a member of Obama’s vice-presidential vetting team, were travelling together on Wednesday other than to cite the fundraisers. Caroline is to introduce Obama at the first; Hillary, who represents New York in the Senate, will introduce him at the second.

Obama was already onboard his campaign plane when Hillary arrived. They greeted each other, stood in the aisle chatting for several minutes. Hillary then took her seat in the first row on the right side of the plane while Obama sat in the second row on the left. Neither spoke with reporters also aboard the campaign plane.

As he sought Hillary’s full support after she suspended her campaign last month, Obama encouraged his donors to help the former first lady retire debt from her unsuccessful bid for the nomination. After a monthslong, divisive primary battle, the two have been trying to unite their party ahead of the November election against Republican John McCain.

Hillary has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Obama.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hillary deflected a reporter’s inquiry about whether she has turned over documents for her former rival’s campaign to review as part of the vice-presidential search.

Obama, meanwhile, had made an unannounced stop at a downtown Washington building that houses the law firm of another member of his vice presidential search team, Eric Holder, but he would not say why.

Both Obama and McCain have been trying to keep a tight lid on their searches, including only a small handful of top aides in the discussions to make sure the vetting process is as discrete as possible.

Earlier on Wednesday the campaign was dominated by news that Iran has test-fired nine missiles, including ones capable of hitting Israel, making a dramatic show of its readiness to strike back if the US or Israel attacks it over its nuclear programme.

McCain said the Iranian missile tests were a “serious escalation”, but agreed with Obama that lines of communication with Tehran should stay open even as the US seeks more painful economic sanctions on the theocratic Islamic regime.