From NBC's Chuck Todd and Domenico Montanaro
So you think you know who's on Obama's veep short list? Well, think again. According to sources on the Hill, Obama veep vetters -- specifically Jim Johnson and Eric Holder -- have been asking Dem members of Congress this week their input about potential running mates. The conversations are free-flowing but one name the vetters are inserting in the conversations is one that is not a household name... Ret. Gen. James Jones, the former Marine-turned-NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
Jones, a Vietnam vet born in Kansas City, MO (swing state alert!), was a career military officer rising to one of the highest posts possible. Now retired, Jones has been critical of the number of troops currently in Afghanistan. He's been appointed to independent posts by both the Democratic Congress and the Republican-run State Department
Jones currently is the president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, which is an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, not exactly the type of organization a typical Democrat gets involved with. Potentially problematic is that he's on Chevron's board. He also serves on the boards of Boeing and Invacare, a manufacturer and distributor of medical equipment. (Invacare's slogan, ironically, is: "Yes, you can.")
Being the least known potential veep, it shouldn't be surprising that the vetters have to spend more time on him in their various conversations on the Hill. But the fact that he's being, um, added to the very long short list, is an interesting development.
Besides Jones, the other names on the list bandied about with congressional Dems include (and not in any order): Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Ted Strickland, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Tom Daschle, and Sam Nunn. You'll notice a few names NOT on this list (that's not my exclusion -- hint hint). Besides Jones, I'm told the two other names that invited extended discussion were Biden and Strickland.
Take this chatter for what it is -- chatter. But the addition of Jones to your semi-official veep short list is truly a fascinating development.