Have you heard Barack Obama list the qualifications for his vice president?

Obama told Time magazine this week and then CBS’s “Early Show” this morning that he is looking for someone to “complement” his strengths, who is “ready to be president,” who can help him govern and help guide the nation “through some dangerous waters internationally.”

Obama also stressed he is looking for independence. “I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a ‘yes person’ when it comes to policymaking,” he said.

Oh, and there was also that comment about the person not having a big ego, and not being someone who is trying to get in the newspaper or draw attention to themselves. Which brings me to my latest wild card: Richard Lugar, the very Republican senior senator from the red state of Indiana.

I give credit up front to Time’s Mark Halperin, who last night teased Lugar as a potential Obama pick, and included pictures of them together with a quote from Lugar from last week distancing himself from Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) criticism of Obama. “No. I think that was clearly a partisan statement at a rally,” he said on CNN. “I respect everybody their opinions in a political campaign, but that’s all that was.”

Lugar, if you recall, is the venerable former Foreign Relations Committee chairman, the job now held by veep shortlister Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.). He ran for president — like so many other senators have — long ago. Lugar, 76, worked with Obama on the loose nukes issue and was featured in an Obama ad on the subject. Obama mentioned him on Saturday night at the Saddleback Church forum as one of the wise people he would be consulting with if he were elected president.

A well-connected Hoosier told me a month ago there was a rumor in Indiana political circles that Lugar was being considered as Obama’s vice president. That person told me Lugar never got over Bush’s selection of Dan Quayle, the junior senator with far less experience and gravitas than himself, and that joining the Democrats just might be something Lugar could do at this stage of his life.

It was hard to believe, and it still is. But it makes winning Indiana, and perhaps the White House, more likely than if Obama were to choose Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), for example. Lugar’s foreign policy credentials are sterling; he supported the Iraq war but grew critical of it. Finally, he is a Republican — it would be a true unity ticket, putting Obama’s money where his mouth is. And most of all, it reassures those people who worry that Obama the upstart won’t know how to handle the big job.

Yes, it may be beyond anyone’s imagination to picture Dick Lugar in Denver next week, hanging with Oprah and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Stranger things may not have happened in politics in our lifetime. Lugar would be the seismic pick, but it sure would be smart.

CONVENTION WATCHERS — I WANT QUESTIONS! Ask A.B. returns next Friday, Aug. 29, when we wrap the Democratic convention. Please send your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.

Tags Barack Obama Barack Obama Candidate Position Employment Change Evan Bayh Indiana Joe Biden Person Attributes Person Career Person Location Person Party Person Relation Politics Presidents of the United Nations Security Council Quotation Richard Lugar Richard Lugar United States

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