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Webb Out; Who’s Up? [UPDATED]

Not happening:

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb just issued a statement from his Senate office saying that — “[u]nder no circumstances” — does he want to be considered as Obama’s veep. “Last week I communicated to Sen. Obama and his presidential campaign my firm intention to remain in the United States Senate, where I believe I am best equipped to serve the people of Virginia and this country. Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for vice president.

But it’s interesting to see whose stock is trading upward at Intrade as a result of Jim Webb’s Sherman Statement today. These people have gained ground:

Bayh       +2.0
Schweitzer +1.9
Reid +1.9
Warner +1.7
Hagel +1.7
Biden +1.3
Kaine +1.3
Edwards +1.0
Sebelius +0.6
Clinton +0.5

…about an even mix of Moderate White Dude and Foreign Policy Tough Dude, with a few Virginia Is For Lovers candidates thrown in. Webb crossed over all three constituencies, which is why he seemed like such an obvious name for the short list.

And yes, that’s Harry Reid, which ought to put to bed any notion about the efficiency of betting markets. Maybe some overseas punters heard some buzz about Jack Reed and got the two confused? I cannot explain this one away.

The overall favorites for the Democrats’ VP slot according to Intrade, translated loosely to Vegas-style odds, are as follows:

Clinton         9-2
Sebelius 9-1
Bayh 10-1
Hagel 10-1
Rendell 12-1
Richardson 12-1
Biden 12-1
McCaskill 15-1
Edwards 15-1
Kaine 15-1
Reed (RI) 20-1
Schweitzer 20-1
Clark 20-1
Gephardt 20-1
Gore 20-1
Nunn 20-1
Bloomberg 25-1
Webb 30-1
Zinni 30-1
Warner 35-1
Reid (NV) 50-1
Jones 60-1
Wexler 80-1
Nelson 100-1
Napolitano 100-1
Daschle 100-1
Easley 100-1

Field 40-1

Has a VP field ever been so completely wide open? And I don’t have too many betting tips for you, but in general find it easier to identify people who I’d want to short (Gore, Hagel) than long (Bill Nelson is intriguing at those odds, and Tim Kaine probably is too).

Update: You know who else I might long? Evan Bayh. Bayh would certainly not be my first choice, but that’s not what matters here. I’m trying to think about this from the standpoint of the Obama campaign’s paradigm, and in general the Obama campaign has tended to be very risk-averse. Bayh is polished, if not overly articulate; he’s a brand name, but not one that will overshadow the nominee, and he would be acceptable to most moderates as well as most ex-Clinton supporters. There’s a bit of an always-a-bridesmaid concern about Bayh that can become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy — if he wasn’t good enough for Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry, what makes him good enough now? — but then again, Indiana has never before been a swing state, nor has the Midwest in general been so important.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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