Novak: Biden for VP? for VP?::By Robert D. Novak

Before multimillionaire Democratic power broker James A. Johnson quit as Sen. Barack Obama’s chief vice presidential screener, the name that came to the fore in his internal discussions was 65-year-old, six-term Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware.

Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, made a good impression in his losing bid for the presidential nomination this year. The downside on him is that he talks too much. But he provides expertise and experience in national security that Obama lacks and, as a Catholic, adds cultural diversity to the ticket.

A footnote: Presidential supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton who are possibilities for vice president include Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. The leading Clintonite for vice president, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, has definitively ruled himself out.

I’m not sure that Biden is the best fit for Obama. He’s not from a terribly big state, and his tendency to run his mouth could get Obama in trouble. Given the competition that can develop between a presidential candidate and his running mate, Obama may get upset if he’s not the only verbal gaffe machine on the ticket.

Novak mentions Ed Rendell, who I think would be the best match for Obama. He’s from a big state that could swing the GOP’s way, brings executive experience and comes off as a regular guy people can relate to. The downside is that unions may still hate him from his time as Philly mayor. But I think he’s the strongest candidate overall.