Saturday, December 16, 2006

2008: Bayh Drops Out

While new Dems continue to enter the crowded '08 presidential race, some are still deciding against a run. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is now one of the latter. The moderate Dem, seen early on as the perfect anti-Hillary candidate, Bayh announced today that he was pulling out of the 2008 field, wisely concluding that he had no chance of winning if he had stayed in any longer.

“The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath,” Mr. Bayh said in a statement. “And whether there were too many Goliaths or whether I’m just not the right David, the fact remains that at the end of the day, I concluded that due to circumstances beyond our control the odds were longer than I felt I could responsibly pursue.

Bayh saw the light after his recent campaign jaunt to New Hampshire, where Dem superstar Barack Obama was also traveling at the time. It was no contest as to who would draw more people.

Several other potential candidates have been making trips to New Hampshire for the last year and a half. Among the most frequent visitors is Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who filled a small room at a Manchester conference center Friday night but wasn't near the draw as Obama on his first trip. Anticipating the inevitable comparison to their visits on the same weekend, Bayh's aides joked that 1,000 more people were in an overflow room.

Obama fever has appeared to have claimed its first official casualty.

But Bayh may not be level in his explanation. As was painfully visible in '04, no presidential candidate will just drop out this early because they don't have a chance to win. Look at Wes Clark, Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich from that merry campaign. And there's Joe Biden, Tom Vilsack and Kucinich - again - this time around. It's more likely that Bayh - who could have blasted liberal Hillary in the debates - saw an opportunity to skillfully play his hand by conceding to both Hillary and Obama in order to secure top consideration for the Vice Presidential slot on one of those campaigns.



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