Donald Lambro

New York's electoral votes? Obama is going to carry the Empire State anyway. If he doesn't, he's in worse shape than we thought. Besides, recent vice presidential nominees have a poor track record of carrying their states. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen was unable to deliver Texas for Michael Dukakis. John Edwards couldn't carry North Carolina for John Kerry. Geraldine Ferraro didn't help Walter Mondale who won only one state, his own.

The women's vote? White working class voters who flocked to Hillary's candidacy, dissing Obama in embarrassingly large numbers? Hispanic voters who do not like Obama but liked Hillary? Ferraro proved that many women do not vote on the basis of gender, otherwise she would now be known as a former vice president. And, let's face it, few if any voters vote for vice president anyway.

As for reaching out to Hispanics, Obama would do better picking Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the former congressman, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of Energy, who happens to be Hispanic and has the most experienced resume in the party.

But there is an even deeper reason why the freshman senator from Illinois would not want to put Clinton on the ticket -- her husband. Read the Vanity Fair article about Bill's notorious escapades with a nefarious bunch of wealthy jet setters, and you quickly understand why this guy will always be at the center of controversy and scandal.

The last thing Obama wants is a vice presidential running mate whose spouse is an irresponsible loose cannon with the potential to embarrass his wife and the Obama administration to boot. Then there is Hillary's reputation as a polarizing figure with the highest negatives in the Democratic Party. Placing her on the ticket guarantees that John McCain wins an added 2 to 3 points, and in a close race that would be enough to beat the Democrats.

Obama needs a loyal running mate who offers him the experience he lacks in governing and national security issues and who can strengthen the ticket in a pivotal swing state in the Midwest, South or the West.

Obama shouldn't kid himself. A vice presidential candidate in most cases won't win the election for him, but the wrong nominee could ensure that he loses. Hillary would be that candidate.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.