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Rendell: Clinton ‘an excellent choice’ for vice president

She will, she won't . . . she will?

She will, she won't . . . she will?

Gov. Rendell reversed himself today and concluded that, yes, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will definitely make a good candidate for the number-two spot on the Democratic presidential ticket with Sen. Barack Obama.

"She is, in my judgment, an excellent choice," Rendell told reporters during a stop today in Ridley Township.

And with that, the governor backed away from the rather blunt statements he made less than 24 hours earlier.

In an interview yesterday with NY1 News in New York, the governor had this to say when asked to offer his thoughts on the question of Clinton's future:

"Generally, a lot of politicians don't like to put somebody like that on the ticket," he said. "You know, rule one for the vice president is make sure you never upstage the president, right? . . . Hillary Clinton in some ways couldn't help but upstage, even if she was trying not to."

He then brought former President Bill Clinton into the conversation.

"The Obama campaign would have to make strict rules . . . about what President Clinton could and could not do during the campaign," Rendell said.

Although the governor is well known for speaking his mind - whether it gets him into trouble or not - his comments about Clinton yesterday came as a surprise.

He has been one of the New York senator's biggest cheerleaders in her bid for the White House. In the weeks leading up to Pennsylvania's April 22 primary, he was by her side at almost every campaign stop she made. And he was instrumental in coordinating her efforts in the state.

And in past interviews, Rendell has said repeatedly that he would "love" to see a Democratic ticket with Clinton and Obama.

But that was before Obama won the number of delegates needed to be nominated at the party's convention in Denver in August.

Clinton is expected to concede Saturday and throw her support behind the Illinois senator. But earlier this week, for the first time, she made it clear that she would consider the vice-presidential spot on the ticket.

Today in Delaware County to promote an energy plan now before the legislature, Rendell said picking a vice-presidential running mate should be based on two factors: who can best help you win and is that person ready to be president?

"I don't think anybody who watched Hillary Clinton over the last six months can think she's anything but ready to be president," he said.

Of all the names he's heard rumored for the vice presidential slot, Rendell added, Clinton is in the best position to help Obama garner the most votes in the fall.

"Is it absolutely necessary that she's on the ticket for us to win? No," the governor said. "Can Sen. Obama carry states like Pennsylvania without Sen. Clinton being on the ticket? Yes, but it will require her rolling up her sleeves and doing the work for him, whether she's on the ticket or not."

In the last two days, there has been almost nonstop debate over the viability of an Obama-Clinton ticket - a dream ticket for many Democrats.

Rendell said today that Clinton will have to decide whether she truly wants the number-two spot.

For instance, the governor said, he has long believed that he would not make a good vice presidential candidate, if only because he's been his own boss since he was elected Philadelphia's district attorney three decades ago.

Rendell's name has been bandied about as a potential vice presidential nominee, and every time he has shot down the rumor, insisting he will finish his gubernatorial term in 2011, and only after that consider a position in Washington.

"It would be very hard for me to take that role," Rendell said of the vice presidency today.

Ultimately, the governor said, he believes that Obama and Clinton need to sit down, "person to person, no staffs, no advisers, and just see if it's something they both want."

And if they don't click?

"You can't leverage the president of the United States to make you vice president," he said. "It's like, you know, an arranged marriage. It doesn't work."