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Yet, despite his myriad charms, Bayh's prospective candidacy has generated minimal buzz among the political class, beyond his perpetual mention as a natural for the number-two spot on the ticket. What Bayh's fans praise as his aura of calm, competence, and decency, critics deride as dishwater drabness. They say his manner is too soothing, his politics too cautious, and his persona too bland. ("I defy you to find one person or group he has ever offended," challenged one longtime Democratic Hill staffer.) Both inside the Beltway and out in the electoral holy lands of Iowa and New Hampshire, the consensus is that the senator must get better at showing that he has "fire in his belly."
Jason Zengerle