NEWARK – Senate President Richard Codey (D- Essex) stands by retired Gen. Wesley Clark as his top choice to complement a ticket with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Codey called for Clark as his party’s vice presidential candidate months ago, at a time when the four star general appeared to be on Obama’s short list.
The Clark buzz died after Obama publicly disassociated himself from remarks Clark made on a TV interview show.
"He got into trouble when he questioned whether (presumptive Republican presidential nominee John) McCain’s experience getting shot down in Vietnam qualified him to be president," Codey recalled.
But if the race between young newcomer Obama and aging warrior McCain boils down to change versus experience, Clark remains the best choice, Codey contends.
The former governor acknowledges that, like Obama, Clark didn’t vote for the War in Iraq. That gives Clark a decided leg up on apparent VP short-listers Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), both of whom voted for the war, and consequently appear out of sync with a change-message.
A Vietnam War hero and former NATO commander, Clark gives Obama white-haired foreign policy credentials to counterbalance McCain – in contrast to another apparent Obama vice presidential flirtation: freshman Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Additionally, Clark was a Hillary Clinton partisan in the primary who could help bring those voters in to help unify the party behind Obama.
"I still think Clark would be an excellent choice," said Codey.