Vilsack, Hickenlooper mum on being potential Clinton VP picks

July 17, 2016

DES MOINES -- Two potential running mates for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were in Iowa on Saturday, but neither offered so much as a peep on the subject.

Tom Vilsack, the U.S. ag secretary and former Iowa governor, and John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, were in Des Moines for the summer meeting of the National Governors Association. Both have been named in national reports as possible selections as Clinton’s running mate.

Vilsack has served as U.S. ag secretary for the entire tenure of President Barack Obama, and is a longtime friend and political ally of Clinton.

Hickenlooper was one of several high-profile Democratic officials who recently met with Clinton at her Washington, D.C., home, according to a CNN report.

Vilsack and Hickenlooper both declined to comment about being potential Clinton running mates when asked by reporters Saturday.

Vilsack referred such questions to the Clinton campaign, and said because his trip to the governors’ meeting was for official business, he is prohibited from commenting on campaign issues.

Hickenlooper declined to comment on a series of questions about Clinton’s choice of a running mate.

Vilsack’s and Hickenlooper’s names have emerged recently in national coverage of Clinton’s campaign, joining high-profile running mate candidates like U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Time Kaine of Virignia, and U.S. Sec. of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.

Vilsack is viewed by Democrats as a safe and solid pick as a vice presidential candidate, but not an exciting one.

“He’s also seen as an extremely competent, policy-oriented public servant with a big heart and a deep concern for public education. Vilsack would come with barely any controversies and is essentially guaranteed to not make any of his own during a campaign,” wrote Pat Rynard, a former Democratic campaign staffer on his political website “Iowa Starting Line.”

Hickenlooper has befriended and held fundraisers for Clinton in his Denver home. While Hickenlooper would not comment on being reported as a potential Clinton running mate, during a brief interview he commented on the presidential race and the upcoming Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Hickenlooper said he thinks Clinton will rally Democrats --- including many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters --- behind her candidacy because of what he sees as one of Clinton’s greatest strengths: her ability to unify.

“Secretary Clinton is one of those people, she’s got great social skills in terms of reaching out to people and making them feel heard, assuring them that their points of view will not be forgotten,” Hickenlooper said. “She’s a very, very gifted person at finding compromise, bringing people together and figuring out how do you keep moving forward.”