A Catholic on the Obama ticket?

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Two Catholic governors are on the short list for the Democratic vice presidential candidate, according to an article in The New Republic. Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas, and Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia, are both said to be on the close to the top of possible choices. Both have executive experience, and both are governors of so-called "red states" key to an Obama victory. As Catholics, both may help Obama with his alleged "Catholic problem," a reference to his wide losses to Hillary Clinton among Catholics in the Democratic primaries, especially in must-win states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. The fact that Sebelius is a woman might help Obama return to the good graces of especially middle-aged, middle class women who were the backbone of Clinton's campaign.

But the article's author, Michael Sean Winters, thinks Sebelius might actually hurt Obama among Catholics because of her controversial veto of a partial birth abortion ban. That ban, which Sebelius argued was unconstitutional and aimed at a single Topeka doctor, elicited a warning from Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who asked Sebelius to refrain from presenting herself for Communion until she fulfilled certain conditions set by the archbishop. Kaine, according to Winters, has a better relationship with his bishop, Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia, whom Winters claims is "level-headed."

No matter what, however, the VP candidate won't be dictating abortion policy, so any Catholic on the ticket is going to have a hard time on the issue. If either is chosen, it will be interesting to see how they respond to the inevitable pressure from the more vocal members of the U.S. hierarchy.