May 16, 2008 / 2:19 PM / 12 years ago

Edwards rules out vice presidential run with Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former presidential contender John Edwards said on Friday he would not be Democratic front-runner Barack Obama’s running mate, but did not rule out taking a role in an Obama administration.

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) stands with former Democratic challenger John Edwards (L) at a rally with supporters in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan May 14, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff HAYNES

“Won’t happen,” Edwards told NBC’s “Today” program when asked if he would be Obama’s vice presidential pick. “This is not something I’m interested in.”

Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, dropped out of the presidential race in January after failing to win any early primaries. On Wednesday, he gave his coveted endorsement to Obama over rival Hillary Clinton.

Asked if he had spoken Obama about a role in his administration if he beat Republican John McCain in November, Edwards said, “Only in the most abstract way.”

Edwards said Obama had told him, “I want you on my team. I want to help you both in the campaign and with the work we want to do when I’m the president.”

His endorsement of Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, came the day after Clinton won a landslide victory in West Virginia that renewed doubts about Obama’s ability to draw white low-income voters.

Edwards denied his endorsement had been deliberately timed to take the wind out of her victory.

“It was the right time to do it. I made the decision that the public should know at this point what my view is,” he said.

He said he had voted for Obama in the recent North Carolina primary and had decided “that it’s time for Democrats to start uniting around this candidate.”

Obama has an almost insurmountable lead over Clinton in the race for delegates to the Democratic convention in August, where the party will choose its candidate for the presidency.

His lead has increased pressure on Clinton to end her campaign, but she has vowed to remain in the race until the last of the state-by-state nominating contests on June 3.

Editing by Alan Elsner

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