Meet Ann Veneman, a life-long Republican who served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Bush Administration. Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team is floating her name as a potential running mate. Read her biography, see photos and a video of her below.

Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team, headed by Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder, have included the name of Ann Veneman as a potential running mate for the democratic candidate. This has come as a huge surprise for many democrats. During her tenure as Secretary of Agriculture she was known to clash with democrats and environmentalists over her policies.

You undoubtedly have probably not heard of Veneman before. That would be because she’s never run for or been elected to office and has been a lifelong bureaucrat. While she had successes in her career, it has not been a career that would prepare someone to be President, which is presumably the reason someone is selected as a Vice President.

Obama’s selection team seems more concerned with the symbolism of having a Republican woman on the ticket than whether or not she is ready to step into the Presidency.

The selection of a Republican could bolster Obama’s unifying message, a Capitol Hill Democrat familiar with the discussion said.

“You select a strong independent woman who appeals to Republicans and independents, and so that’s hard to beat,” the Hill source said, explaining the logic of the possible choice. “Choosing someone like [Veneman] doesn’t hurt you with the Democrats. It just doesn’t hurt you. But it helps you with Independents and Republicans.”

Vetters go on to say that nominating her would give the illusion that Obama can get things done without partisanship.

Okay. So. Its not about qualifications, its about the packaging and marketing. It’ll make a pretty picture and draw in demographics they might have trouble with. But that’s been the message all along. Nothing new here, move along.

Ann Veneman Biography

Ann Margaret Veneman was born on June 29, 1949 in Modesto, California. She is 59-years-old. Her father was John Veneman, a former undersecretary of Health, Education and Welfare and a member of the California State Assembly. The family lived on a peach farm in Modesto.

Veneman received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California. She received a Master Degree in Public Policy from the Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the Hastings College of the Law, University of California. She was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2001, from Lincoln University in Missouri in 2003, Delaware State University in 2004 and Middlebury College in 2006.

She started her career in 1976 as a staff attorney with the General counsel’s office of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District in Oakland, California. In 1978 she returned to Modesto and served as a Deputy Public Defender and then in 1980 joined a private law firm, eventually becoming a partner. She stayed there until she left for Washington D.C. in 1986 to work for the USDA. She practiced law in Washington, D.C. from 1993 to 1995 when she returned to California to serve as Secretary of Food and Agriculture for the state.

She was nominated by President George W. Bush to the position of Secretary of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She was the 27th person to hold this position and the first woman and first Californian to hold this position. She was sworn in on January 20, 2001. After a notable and successful tenure as Secretary she resigned on January 20, 2005 for a position with UNICEF.

Veneman became the fifth Executive Director of UNICEF on May 1, 2005 and continues to hold that position.

Ann Veneman – Video