Hank Hayes • Jun 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is “not real competitive” with GOP opponent John McCain in Tennessee right now, Gov. Phil Bredesen admitted Tuesday.

“I think that unless it gets closer than it is today we’re not going to see an awful lot of the presidential campaign,” Bredesen, a Democrat, told reporters after a bill signing ceremony at the Renaissance Center. “I guess my job is to try to get it at least in the ballpark, and I think we’ll get some attention from the national campaigns. I really would like the (Obama) campaign to pay attention to Tennessee.

“I would like a Democrat to do well here. ... We’ve missed (picking) the presidency once since the 1920s. Any candidate who can hit a responsive chord with Tennesseans, I think, is in a good position to hit a responsive chord in a lot of places in our country.”

Bredesen didn’t say that former Vice President Al Gore’s endorsement of Obama will sway large blocs of voters in the state. Gore lost Tennessee during his 2000 failed presidential bid.

“I think Al Gore is respected in Tennessee,” Bredesen said. “It can’t help but help (Obama) some in the state of Tennessee. I think in any major political office, endorsements are at best a light touch on it. Most people make up their own minds about whether they want Senator Obama or Senator McCain. But I think Al Gore is well respected and may help some people to see the way toward Senator Obama.”

Bredesen is also often asked by reporters whether he would like to be on Obama’s presidential ticket as the vice presidential nominee.

“This is not something that I have sought,” Bredesen responded. “It’s pretty obvious at this particular point. It’s an honor to be on people’s short list (for vice president). If anything comes up, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”

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