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Democrats/Journalists' "Surprising" Obama VP Picks

Barack Obama
AP
Barack Obama

There's only one truly reliable source for Barack Obama's thinking for vice president. That's Barack Obama, and he's not talking about it anywhere near me.

But I attended a gathering of prominent Democrats and journalists a few days ago that gives some insight into how political Washington expects him to think.

Obama's choice later this summer will reveal something about how well attuned the Beltway crowd is to this relative newcomer on the national stage.

The top three choices that emerged in conversation might surprise you; they certainly surprised me.

1. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware: experienced on foreign policy, twice a candidate for president himself and thus thoroughly "vetted" by the national press, Catholic, skilled at relating to the lunch-bucket Democrats Obama needs.

2. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island: a West Point grad with 12 years in the Army, a Catholic with working class roots, a sure-footed campaigner.

3. Al Gore: Nobel Prize winner, and a few other things you know.

Does Obama think like Washington or entirely differently? We'll find out soon.

Questions? Comments? Write to politicalcapital@cnbc.com.