Rendell: "Nobody would want me"

February 24, 2008 10:28:40 AM PST
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell said his controversial statement that some rural Pennsylvania voters would not vote for a black candidate shows why he would be a "terrible liability" as a vice presidential candidate.

Rendell, a supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, reiterated Saturday that he has no interest in being a running mate.

"I think I proved a couple weeks ago why nobody would want me as vice presidential nominee," Rendell said in an interview with reporters from The Patriot-News of Harrisburg and Politico for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers." "I have a terrible liability."

He also ruled out leaving office to become a White House cabinet member until his term is up in 2011.

Earlier this month, Rendell was criticized after saying in an interview that some white Pennsylvanians are likely to vote against Clinton's rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because he is black.

"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," Rendell told the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rendell cited his landslide gubernatorial victory over Lynn Swann, in which he defeated the former Pittsburgh Steelers star by more than 20 percentage points. The governor said Swann, who is black, would have gotten more votes if he was white.

"I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann been the identical candidate that he was - well-spoken, charismatic, good-looking - but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so," he said.

In Saturday's interview, Rendell also said he is frustrated at Clinton's loss of momentum in the Democratic presidential race.

"She's got to drop her guard, and she's done it on occasion, and let people know what she really feels and why she's in this," he said. "All of us who have known Hillary Clinton for a long time and who care deeply about her as a candidate and a person are frustrated."

Information from: The Patriot-News,