WASHINGTON - The Democratic presidential nomination his, Barack Obama reached out Wednesday to mend fences with his defeated rival as Republican opponent John McCain tried to frame the fall campaign on his own terms. "I think he has exercised very bad judgment on national security issues and others," McCain said.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was angling to become Obama's running mate and her aides ramped up the speculation on that matter Wednesday. "I think a lot of her supporters would like to see her on the ticket," Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said. But Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs cautioned "there is no deal in the works."
Clinton has yet to acknowledge Obama's victory in the bruising Democratic race and her aides - also dodging that conclusion - said on the morning talk shows that she would take a few days to decide what comes next for her. Obama spoke by phone with her Tuesday night and both sides predicted he and Clinton would sit down together before long.
"When the dust settles and it makes sense for her, he'll meet whenever she wants to," Gibbs said. "She's accumulated a lot of votes throughout this country. We want to make sure that we're appealing to her voters."
The primaries behind them, Obama and McCain were drawing the battle line for a fall fight that will make history with the election of either the oldest first-term president in McCain or the first black commander in chief in Obama. In speeches marking the start of the general election, both maneuvered for the advantage with voters sour on the status quo. Both were competing beyond their party's base, too.
"The key to winning the election is independent voters and Democrats as well," McCain said in an interview shown Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Even so, he said "I don't think so" when asked on CBS whether he'd pick a Democrat as his running mate.