Here are two names that Washington-based advisers of Barack Obama are circulating among their friends and allies:

Ex-Rep. Dick Gephardt and Ex-Sen. George Mitchell.

Starting with the personal: Gephardt endorsed Clinton but did nothing during the campaign to alienate Obama. Obama has met Gephardt and likes him but does not really know him. Given that Missouri is a certifiable battleground, Gephardt would be an asset; He's a midwesterner; he's close to labor, the white working class, and all that jazz. But he's a lobbyist now, and a registered foreign agent to boot.

Mitchell, an architect of peace in Northern Ireland and the head of a committee investigating steroids in baseball, almost made it to the Supreme Court under Bill Clinton. He's supremely well-qualified and well-resepcted, but so far as I can tell, Obama does not know him, and Obama's not going to choose someone he doesn't really know. Mitchell, now the chair of DLA Piper Rudnick, had prostate cancer in 2007.

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