Warren Buffett for President? That's Barack Obama's favorite non-candidate. Over the last few months in interviews at its offices, the Des Moines Register has asked the 2008 candidates from both parties a series of the same questions, including such off-beat inquires as what contemporary person, other than themselves, they think would be a good president and what country they would live in if not America.
Obama said Buffett, who has raised money for both the Illinois Senator and Hillary Clinton but not chosen which one he will back, "has a wonderful gift of analyzing a lot of complex information." Other candidates made even more surprising choices, naming some of their campaign rivals. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani named Colin Powell, but said if he were not running, he would back John McCain. Sen. Joe Biden praised Sen. Chris Dodd and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, two of his rivals, along with former Senator and 2000 Democratic candidate Bill Bradley.
The man famous for "straight-talk," McCain, wouldn't name anyone (though he did express admiration for Ronald Reagan), nor would Clinton or former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Dodd didn't return the favor to Biden, instead going with an answer that sounded like a pander to Iowa voters, the state's long-time Sen. Tom Harkin. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney all but admitted he would not be his party's first choice if another man had a different last name, Jeb Bush, who Romney called a "fabulous governor."
Clinton, who in recent weeks has deemed even questions about federal policy as too "hypothetical" for her to answer, wouldn't budge on which foreign country she would live in. She said all her life she had been "obsessed" with American and wouldn't do well in another country. Obama, McCain and Giuliani all named Great Britain, although the latter also named the homeland of his ancestors, Italy. If Giuliani does indeed set sail for England, he must have a plan to get his health care elsewhere--he has called Britain's system "socialized medicine" and promised to stop anything similar from coming to the United States.
--Perry Bacon Jr.