From NBC's Mike Viqueira
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi totally thinks that Rep. Chet Edwards would make a great running mate for Obama.
"He's one of the finest people that I have ever served with," she says of Edwards, the Democrat who represents Waco (and Crawford), Texas here in your U.S. House. Citing Edwards work on veteran's issue, Pelosi concluded: "I think he would be a great addition to the ticket."
VIDEO: MSNBC Political Director Chuck Todd weighs in on the "chess match" for electoral votes that Obama and McCain will soon find themselves in. He tells us about the options and strategies that go into selecting a vice president.
It's a curious choice for Pelosi in one respect. Edwards' district went for Bush with 70% of the vote in 2004, and the district must be considered red by any measure. There may not be many Democrats who could hold that seat if the long shot were to come in and Edwards, a moderate Dem, were nominated as veep.
Pelosi prefaced her remarks by expressing her desire to see Edwards run for House leadership at some point, assuming that he isn't already ensconced up at the Naval Observatory. But Edwards has made a conscious effort to do just the opposite in order to concentrate his energies on issues important to central Texas. He is known to credit this approach to his success over the years in getting elected.
So what is the angle? As far as we can tell, Pelosi just happens to think a lot of Edwards. After talking with Dems around the Hill today, there does not seem to be any other logical explanation.
Pelosi spoke at her weekly briefing for reporters, held this week off camera because the speaker lost her speaking voice overnight, and was barely audible.
Here is an Edwards written statement in reaction to Pelosi's comments, first uttered the other day as she was walking out of a breakfast with reporters: "It has been a privilege for me to work closely with Speaker Pelosi in behalf of our nation's veterans, and I am humbled that she and others would suggest that the Obama campaign consider me for their vice presidential list. Given that I have not met with the Obama campaign regarding the vice presidential nomination, I would not want to speculate on the names being considered.
"My focus will continue to be serving my district and passing a VA-Military Construction Appropriations bill that respects the service and sacrifice of America's veterans and our military families.
Here is the transcript of Pelosi's comments:
PELOSI: Put all their names in a hat together -- anyone of them would be great. I've always tried to encourage Mr. Edwards to run for leadership or something. I think he's an extraordinarily talented person. We're talking about Chet Edwards -- member of congress from Texas. He's really one of the finest people I've ever served with. …
Let me say this. Any nominee Sen. Obama chooses is A okay with me. First and foremost, the nominee has to be happy with his person. If he's happy, I'm happy.
People are asking for suggestions. So I think the names that have been floated are all excellent. I thought it was important to have some selections from the House -- so I started with Mr. Edwards.
I don't think Mr. Obama needs anything. I think he's the full package for President of the United States. I think he has all the knowledge and judgment, and ideas, and plans and emotional connection to the American people to be a great President of the United States.
The Constitution says, that if the president cannot serve, we must have a vice president. And so I think Chet Edwards could fill that role -- A. And B, I particularly admire the work he has done on veterans' issues. He is Mr. Veterans in the Congress. With his leadership, we passed the biggest increase in Veterans benefits in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration. He would be a great addition to the ticket.