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Won’t play second fiddle: Obama

world Updated: Mar 11, 2008 23:28 IST

Barack Obama, has ridiculed Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that he could be her running mate. The Illinois senator, campaigned in Mississippi on Monday, said he has won more states, votes and delegates than Hillary so far.

Saying he wanted to be “absolutely clear”, he told supporters: “I don’t want anybody here thinking that somehow, ‘Well, you know, maybe I can get both.’ Don’t think that way. You have to make a choice in this election.”

“I am not running for vice-president,” Obama added. “I am running for President of the United States of America.” Later, when asked if he would “absolutely close out any possibility” of taking the ticket’s second spot, he replied: “I am not running for vice-president, and don’t intend to be the vice-president.”

Obama aides said Hillary’s recent hints that she might welcome him as her vice-presidential candidate appeared meant to diminish him and to attract undecided voters in the remaining primary states by suggesting they can have a “dream ticket”.

Obama had never suggested he might accept a second spot on the ticket. But until Monday he had not ridiculed the notion so directly.

“I don’t know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice-presidency to someone who is in first place,” Obama said, drawing cheers and a standing ovation from about 1,700 people in Columbus, Mississippi.

Hillary and her husband, the former president, had suggested recently that a Hillary-Obama ticket would be popular and formidable against Republican Senator John McCain in November. “A lot of Democrats like us both and have been very hopeful that they wouldn’t have to make a choice but obviously Democrats have to make a choice and I’m looking forward to getting the nomination,” Hillary said on Monday in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “And it’s preliminary to talk about whoever might be on whose ticket.” Many political activists discounted the notion all along. They noted the two senators lack a warm relationship and, more important, that Obama would be ill-served by hinting he might accept the vice-presidential slot when he holds the lead in delegates and hopes to win the nomination.

Moreover, many insiders feel the ambitious and fast-rising Obama would chafe in the vice-president’s job, especially in a White House where Bill Clinton would almost surely play a huge advisory role. At a rally before nearly 9,000 people in Jackson, Mississippi, late on Monday,

Obama painted Clinton as a part of the Washington establishment whose time has come and gone.