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Obama VEEPwatch: Who Is Mark Warner?

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Oops! Mark Warner broke the cardinal rule of presidential campaigning: NEVER let VP ruminations out of the bag before the official announcement! While all of us news-hungry journalists at Donklephant, VicePresidents.com and elsewhere are avidly speculating, passing around scuttlebutt and trying to promote our iconoclast favorites, there is always an air of ambiguity around the shrouded running mate selection process — and rightfully so. The candidates need to wisely and thoughtfully choose who they surround themselves with, since “guilt by association” is a very real thing. Also, if one VP hopeful comes out a bit too brazenly — and the candidate chooses NOT to select that person — then there could be a big media ordeal. Candidates generally like to keep all options open and save their speeches for WHY they chose a particular running mate, rather than defending why they DIDN’T choose someone. Even so… as Justin previously mentioned, the former Virginia Governor Mark Warner blabbed to insider Robert Novak that he’s on the list for Obama’s VEEP.

Who is this audacious fellow anyway?

Credentials:

  • Governor of Virginia (2002 – 2006)
  • Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party (1993 – 1995)
  • Co-founder of Nextel

Current Job: Running for Senate in 2008. He also serves on the boards of National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the CNA Corporation

 Security Experience: He served on the national security taskforce and co-chair the transportation taskforce of the Bipartisan Policy Council (2007).

Background: Mark Warner hails from Indianapolis, Indiana — and, like many congress officials, was the first person in his family to graduate college. He graduated from the George Washington University and Harvard School of Law. He got his start working for Senator Chris Dodd in the early 80s, while making his first fortune investing in technology.

Warner’s Agenda: A New Energy Policy, Health care, The War, Being Competitive (Jobs/Education) and Improving Infrastructure.

Star Achievements: As governor, he inherited $6 billion in economic shortfalls and ended with a surplus by revising the tax code http://markwarner2008.com/virginiarecord/restoring-fiscal-integrity-making-the-tax-code-more-fair, creating jobs http://markwarner2008.com/virginiarecord/building-a-stronger-economy and making “business-like reforms.” http://markwarner2008.com/virginiarecord/managing-government-like-a-business He used the money to invest in K-12 education and cleaning up the Chesapeke Bay. So Warner could help Obama achieve all his lofty goals by finding a realistic way to make it happen… of course, the taxpayers may not be too happy with some of the inevitable hikes on consumer goods.

He was named one of Governing Magazine’s “Public Officials of the Year” (2004), TIME Magazine’s “America’s 5 Best Governors” (2005), and was mentioned in Newsweek’s “Who’s Next” article (2006.)While he was governor, Governing Magazine called Virginia the “best governed state” and Forbes Magazine called Virginia the “best state for business.” Education Week said Virginia was “the best state for children” on the basis of economic opportunity.

Possible Snafus: The Republicans have been gearing up to issue the beating of a lifetime on Mark Warner for a while. They’ve already launched a “Don’t Mark Warner”  website with an extensive laundry list of grievances. They allege that he flip-flopped on illegal immigration, that he’s the “godfather of payday loans,” that he flip-flopped on abortion, raised taxes across the board (everything BUT income), that he has no real political ideology to call his own, that he allowed state officials in his administration use taxpayer dollars to fund a Zimbabwean safari, that he broke all of his platform promises and that he’s not really a fiscal conservative, as he professes. Yikes! Whether true or untrue, those allegations sound like a lot of baggage that “Clean-Slate” Obama really doesn’t need and a little bit of distrust can infect a lot of undecided voters.