WASHINGTON – Three top Democrats, all talked about as possible running mates for presumptive presidential nominee John Kerry (search), on Sunday suggested a lack of interest in being vice president — but none ruled it out.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (search) could create a stir as the first Hispanic on a major party ticket. But when asked whether he would turn down such an offer from Kerry, he said he was very happy in his current position.
"I love being governor of New Mexico. My job isn't finished yet. I've only been governor for a year," said Richardson, who joined two fellow Democrats on CBS' "Face the Nation." You know, a governor is the best job in the world. And I've said this before, nobody seems to believe me ... but I am very happy in my job."
Sen. Bob Graham (search), who folded his campaign for the Democratic presidential nod last October, deflected a similar question. "I think that's going to be up to Senator Kerry, obviously," Graham said.
A survey of 800 Florida voters released Sunday by The Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times found Kerry 6 percentage points ahead of Republican President Bush — 49 percent to 43 percent. Pollsters are keeping close tabs on Graham's Sunshine State, where Bush won the bitter 2000 election by 537 votes.
Another Florida poll out this week shows Bush and Kerry tied.
Asked whether Kerry could help himself by choosing Graham, the Florida senator responded, "I will do whatever I can to help John Kerry be elected president and deny George Bush another four years in the White House."
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (search) deferred to Graham and Richardson, saying they have a "tremendous advantage over someone like me. They both have foreign policy experience. They both have real homeland security and domestic terrorism experience. And I think both would be excellent choices."
Rendell, a former mayor of Philadelphia, has been Pennsylvania's governor since January 2003. Richardson was President Clinton's energy secretary and U.N. ambassador. Graham is a popular former Florida governor.
Rendell said he would advise Kerry to choose someone popular, preferably from a state Bush won in 2000.
In Selma, Ala., to commemorate the 39th anniversary of a civil rights march, Jesse Jackson said John Edwards should be high on Kerry's list. Edwards folded his presidential campaign after failing to win any of the 10 contests last Tuesday.
"John Edwards has a freshness. He represent the South in so many ways," Jackson said. "I'm impressed by the race he ran and I'm very impressed by the response of the people to John Edwards."
Richardson, meanwhile, said the first televised ads of Bush's re-election campaign were "a little bit over the line" for using images of the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Democrats and relatives of some of those killed in the attacks have asked that the ads, which began airing last Thursday, be pulled from the airwaves. Rendell, Richardson and Graham on Sunday joined the call for their withdrawal.
Bush aides have said Sept. 11 was a defining moment in Bush's presidency and that the commercials are appropriate for an election campaign focused on public policy and the war on terror.
Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot (search) said no thought has been given to pulling the ads.
"This is an entirely appropriate effort on our part, we believe, to recall a memory and to recognize what it is that it's going to take in terms of leadership to lead the war on terror," Racicot said on "Fox News Sunday."