Ohio Gov. Strickland Says He Won't Accept VP Slot

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, whose name has been floated as a possible running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, says he's not looking to fill the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket.

"If drafted, I will not run; nominated, I will not accept; and if elected, I will not serve," he tells Michele Norris.

Strickland's strong support of Sen. Hillary Clinton is credited with helping secure her primary victory in that battleground state. Speculation about Strickland as a potential pick for vice president focused on his centrist leanings and appeal to white, working-class voters.

Strickland says he'll back the Illinois senator, but can he help Obama defeat Republican John McCain in his home state come November?

"It's difficult for any candidate to win Ohio — Republican or Democratic candidate," Strickland says. "In order to win Ohio, you've got to appeal to a very diverse state. We have a little bit of everything in Ohio that is found in the larger country.

"I do believe, though, that the candidate that wins Ohio will be the candidate who talks specifically and convincingly about the economic circumstances facing our state and our nation." Strickland says Obama is that candidate.

Obama carried just five of Ohio's 88 counties in the state's March 4 primary. All were in larger metropolitan areas. Obama's loss in the state highlighted his problem with working-class voters.

"I have been asked if there may be a racial element to this," Strickland says. "Let me be candid about that. I think race involves everything that happens in this country, wherever it occurs — large cities, small towns or any region of our country. But I can also tell you that there are two ways to run statewide in Ohio: You can use the John Kerry approach, or you can use the Ted Strickland approach ... recognizing that Ohio is big and diverse, that there are different economies in Ohio, and it is important to reach out to all of Ohio."

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