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Not-So Dynamic Duos

It really does take two. For all the talk of a "dream" presidential ticket, Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrat’s presumed presidential nominee, is now hounded by talk that he should choose Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate. Indeed, as Clinton’s final fortunes were sealed, one couldn’t blame Obama if he had begun to bristle at the idea that he must somehow make room for her. The talk that she would help his ticket might not thrill him. Let’s face it, Clinton wasn’t so nice to him during the campaign.

Obama has good reason for being cautious, and less than crazy about the situation. History, after all is filled with paired partnerships that were supposed to bring about triumphant returns. We here have assembled some examples of a few not-so dynamic duos, Obama could point to.

Dan Rather and Connie Chung: What better way to boost your ratings of your evening newscast in the mid 1990s than have the slick-talkin’ Texan paired up with the girl of David Letterman’s dreams? Let’s see, actually having them paired on the same newscast. The two displayed awkward chemistry at best and at times Rather seemed threatened by Chung’s presence on the set, and the partnership lasted less than a barbecue without baked beans (that’s the best Rather we can do). Rather of course would go on to provide some of the most memorable media commentary ever during the 2000 election, before his hasty departure from CBS in 2006. Chung, meanwhile was demoted by CBS in 1995, leaving for ABC soon after.

Frank Thomas and Albert Belle: When the Chicago White Sox signed Belle from the Cleveland Indians following the 1996 season, people predicted that he and Thomas (winner of the 1993 and 1994 American League MVP awards) would sell out new Commiskey Park, lead the Sox to the pennant and chase each other in pursuit of Roger Maris’ single season home record. Instead, the two posted paltry numbers as Belle turned surly against the South Siders’ loyal fans. Thomas–always a large man–seemed to grow even bigger as he struggled with marital and weight problems, prompting this reporter to yell during one summer evening at 35th and Shields, "C’mon Frank, she’s not worth it!" Their first year together, with the Sox 3 1/2 games behind the Indians for first place in the division, management went on to trade the team’s closer and best pitcher to the Giants, thus ending any hope that this marriage could be salvaged. The two would never come close to the playoffs ever again, as Belle bolted for Baltimore at his first chance out and Thomas continued to scare teammates who thought he was about to eat them.

Harvey Weinstein and Tina Brown: It was the apex of synergy. When Weinstein and Brown launched Talk in 1999, it was meant as a beacon, a symbol of how print magazines would operate in the future. Brown had become the celebrity editor of her age with her revitalization of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and Weinstein along with his brother Bob had reinvigorated the independent film market with their distribution company, Miramax. Talk was designed as a true general interest magazine in the age of niche publications, something that would cover politics and celebrities, wealth and power and trailer parks. The stories would then be launching off points for the Miramax film division and be the basis for films.

Well, one could dream. Brown oversaw constant staff turnover, insane budgets and constant rumors of the magazine’s demise from its second issue on. Weinstein, it was said, would constantly make his presence known around the editorial offices. The result was a magazine that suffered from a lack of ad pages, disgruntled employees and the lack of stories of real import, which ultimately led to a short shelf life. Its death in 2001 probably made more news than any of the issues ever printed.

Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman in Ishtar: Ah, Ishtar. How we waited for this grand collaboration of arguably the best actors of their generation in 1987 movie directed by the great Elaine May. Known mostly for its outlandish budget ($30 million) and its box office failure ($14.375 million in North America), it’s sometimes mentioned on lists of the worst movie ever made.

"If all of the people who hate ‘Ishtar’ had seen it," Elaine May said. "I would be a rich woman today."

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