Barack Obama has laid out his key criteria in a vice presidential pick -- somebody who will be the diametric opposite of Dick Cheney -- but did not air any names.
With speculation rife about who the Democratic White House contender will choose as his running mate, Obama said he wanted a true partner in government who has integrity and is unafraid to speak their mind.
"Here's what I won't do," the Illinois senator told a raucous crowd of 2,600 people at an evening rally here yesterday, launching an outspoken attack on President George W Bush and his secretive and enormously influential deputy, Cheney.
"I won't hand over my energy policy to my vice president. I won't have my vice president engineering my foreign policy
for me. The buck will stop with me, because I'll be the president," Obama said.
"My vice president also, by the way, will be a member of the executive branch, he won't be one of these fourth branches of the government where... He is above the law."
Obama stayed clear of dropping the names of any potential candidates for his VP nominee, with an announcement expected any day now.
The New York Times reported late Monday that Obama had narrowed down his search to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, who is a foreign-policy veteran.
Obama did say: "I want somebody who has integrity, who's in politics for the right reasons.
"I want somebody who's independent, somebody who's able to tell me 'you know Mr president, I think you're wrong on this and here's why'.