WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton told supporters on Tuesday that she is open to being Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate, a Democratic lawmaker and a party aide said.
Clinton, the former first lady and New York senator who appears on the verge of losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama, made the comment in a conference call with fellow members of her state’s congressional delegation.
“She said she would do whatever is necessary in order to make certain that we win, and serving as vice president would be one of the things she would be willing to do,” Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat and Clinton backer, told Reuters.
A Democratic party aide described the conversation in a similar manner, and quoted Clinton as saying, “I am open to it.”
The Clinton campaign said she was asked if she was open to the idea of being vice president and “repeated what she has said before: she would do whatever she could to ensure that Democrats take the White House back and defeat John McCain.”
The apparent expression of interest in the No. 2 slot on the ticket comes as some prominent Clinton supporters, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, have said they would like to see Obama invite Clinton to be on the ticket.
An Obama spokeswoman declined comment.
Many political analysts said the possibility of an Obama-Clinton ticket is remote and some influential Democrats have also downplayed the possibility.
The Illinois senator has put together a close-knit team of aides to run his campaign and might prefer to run with someone with whom he already has an easy rapport. Clinton and Obama describe themselves as friends but there is little doubt the hard-fought struggle for the nomination has left bruised feelings within both camps.
Some believe that if Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, were to choose Clinton as his running mate, that would create a “dream ticket” for the November presidential election.
“It’s the way to put this race together because the constituencies are so different,” Feinstein said.
Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, said he had urged Obama this week to pick Clinton as his running mate. Carper has not declared his support for either Clinton or Obama.
Carper said he was “delighted to hear” that Obama wants to meet with Clinton next week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said for months she does not expect to see Obama and Clinton on the same ticket.
(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan in Chicago)
Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, editing by Patricia Zengerle