And Vilsack makes four

Obama's choice of the former IA governor makes four former nomination rivals in top posts.


Thomas Schaller
December 17, 2008 7:44PM (UTC)

Barack Obama is expected to announce his selection of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as his Secretary of Agriculture-designee. Vilsack was an early exit from the presidential field, but did run and, after departing, threw his support behind Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

The Los Angeles Times reminds us:

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During the campaign for the Iowa caucuses, Vilsack was the top Clinton official in the state and often appeared with the New York senator. He also frequently questioned Obama's preparedness for the presidency.

But after Obama won the Democratic nomination, Vilsack campaigned for his general election effort in Iowa and other states.

Vilsack would be the fourth high-level appointment of a former presidential campaign rival to Obama's team, following Clinton for secretary of State, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden for vice president and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for Commerce secretary.

Which makes Vilsack a double former rival of sorts because unlike Bill Richardson (who dropped out and supported Obama, to the chagrin of the Clintons), Vilsack ran against Obama and then supported the woman still running against him.

Cue the "Team of Rivals" chatter on cable TV . . .


Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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