Updated: Nov. 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
by Sabrina Eaton and Stephen Koff
Plain Dealer Washington Bureau
Acworth, N.H. — Call it the liberal-libertarian ticket, where left meets right and Democrat Dennis Kucinich picks Republican Ron Paul to be his vice president.
Kucinich, the Cleveland congressman running in a longshot bid to become president, suggested it himself Sunday.
“I’m thinking about Ron Paul” as a running mate, Kucinich told a crowd of about 70 supporters at a house party here, one of numerous stops throughout New Hampshire over the Thanksgiving weekend. A Kucinich-Paul administration could bring people together “to balance the energies in this country,” Kucinich said.
It would create a stunning, if dizzying, blend of beliefs, wedding two politicians who hold different views on abortion rights, the role of government in providing health care, and the use of government in fostering — or hampering — the public’s greater good. Those are among the reasons it would never work, said a spokesman for Paul, a Texas congressman and doctor.
“Dr. Paul and Rep. Kucinich are friends and there is a lot of mutual respect,” Paul communications director Jesse Benton said in an e-mail when asked whether a running-mate spot on the Kucinich ticket would be attractive to Paul. “They have worked, and will continue to work, together on ending the war and protecting civil liberties.
“However, Ron wants to substantially cut the size and scope of the federal government. There are too many differences on issues such as taxes and spending to think a joint ticket would be possible.”
Kucinich and Paul are gadflies to their parties’ establishments. Kucinich challenges Democrats to stop cozying up to corporate interests, while Paul challenges Republicans to shed the trappings of big government.
Both frequently cite the Constitution as providing the authority for their agendas. Paul never votes for legislation unless the measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution, his campaign says. Kucinich keeps a pocket-size copy of the Constitution handy, taking it out to invoke its authority over such proposals as the impeachment of Vice President Cheney, one of Kucinich’s signature issues.
Speculation of a Kucinich-Paul ticket has surfaced on the Internet, where it also has been shot down. But Kucinich’s wife, Elizabeth, did not dismiss it when asked about it after a recent Democratic candidates’ debate in Las Vegas. Speaking to the Web site RawVegasTV, she called Paul “a great truth-teller,” adding that Paul has “voted 100 percent right on the war.”
On Sunday, her husband said, “Think of how you could unite the country, having a Democrat and a Republican on the ticket.”
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