Argus Leader political columnist Dave Kranz is acting like Tom Daschle's press secretary again. Note that in this column from today's paper, his main source is Steve Hildebrand, Daschle's former campaign manager and current employee of Barack Obama. How objective!
Daschle might be Obama's Cheney
Eyebrows raise among political observers when they see Sen. Barack Obama's fund-raising success.
This ability of a freshman U.S. senator from Illinois to generate significant cash leaves prognosticators believing Obama can actually hang tough and play the game against Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
Maybe it is the infectious popularity coupled with the desire by Democrats to have a new face that fuels his success.
But credit former Sen. Tom Daschle for much of that. Everyone knows that a number of former Daschle staffers are aboard Obama's wagon, but it goes deeper than that.
"He has the benefit of Daschle's contributors' list with 85,000 names," says Steve Hildebrand, a former Daschle campaign manager and now a senior advisor to Obama.
"Having access to that list is very helpful, a big plus for Obama, but you have to keep in mind that Hillary Clinton has a list of 250,000 donors from her Senate race," Hildebrand said.
So far the Obama campaign is pleased with the cash totals.
But Daschle's commitment to Obama goes beyond a list with names. He has begun traveling to key states on his candidate's behalf.
"Tom has made a trip to New Hampshire. He will go to Iowa for Obama, and he has three or four fundraisers for him scheduled around the country," Hildebrand said.
Daschle is doing very well for himself in private life, but once bitten by the political bug, it is a difficult transition back to life away from politics.
So one has to wonder if the journey to the nomination might also mean an Obama-Daschle ticket.
Daschle continues to dismiss any future personal political plans, but his heavy lifting for Obama is not going unnoticed.
For example, a recent column by Howard Fineman for MSNBC: "If Obama wins the nomination, Daschle will be a top contender for running mate. Far-fetched? Maybe. South Dakota is a red state, and one with the fewest possible electoral votes: three. But in 2000, political novice George W. Bush chose a congressional veteran from a sparsely populated state as his reassuringly experienced running mate. Is Tom Daschle the Democratic answer to Dick Cheney? Then Daschle would be back, big time."
Democrats might not welcome comparisons to Cheney, but a discussion of this scenario might come to pass for Daschle.