RALEIGH, NC -- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, is almost always diligent about saying "he or she" when discussing his potential running mate.
But at a lively town hall meeting in the Tarheel State Tuesday evening, the senator -- who is expected to announce his vice presidential pick at the end of this week -- used a decidedly male pronoun.
Asked what his plan is to utilize his vice president as President Bush utilized his, Obama said, "Let me tell you first what I won’t do. I won’t hand over my energy policy to my vice president, without knowing necessarily what he’s doing."
What HE'S doing. Could be a reference to Vice President Dick Cheney -- to whom Obama is clearly alluding.
But, as I said, Obama is usually pretty careful about saying "he or she." And surely it hasn't escaped anyone's noticed that despite references to dark horse candidates such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, or Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, all three finalists -- Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Joe Biden of Delaware, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine -- are male.
"My vice president also will be a member of the executive branch," Obama continued, "he won't be one of these fourth branches of government where he thinks he’s above the law."
He gave other criteria which were gender-neutral.
But for those political junkies out there looking for clues -- it's quite possible Obama just dropped one.
-- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller