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Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden Swap? Woodward Says Maybe, but She Says No Way

3 years ago
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The White House has emphatically denied any notion that Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden as President Obama's running mate in 2012. On top of that, the secretary of state herself has pooh-poohed the idea.

The latest wave of Hillary buzz was amplified Tuesday night when Bob Woodward, author of the new book "Obama's Wars," told CNN's John King that a possible Obama-Clinton ticket is "on the table." The idea is that Clinton would energize a 2012 campaign -- particularly among women. In some scenarios, Biden, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would take over as secretary of state.

But there's a big problem with all of this juicy speculation. The White House has consistently denied any such deal is in the works. "There's absolutely nothing to it," senior aide David Axelrod told the Washington Post late Tuesday. "The president is blessed to have a spectacular vice president and an outstanding secretary of state. They're both doing great work, and he wants them on the job." Another Obama adviser was more blunt, calling the idea "nuts." Longtime Clinton adviser James Carville also chimed in. "I'd be stunned if there's anything to it. Anything is possible in politics. But I don't know of anything beyond speculation, and I really doubt it's anything," he told the Post.

Joe Biden, Hillary ClintonMany Clinton supporters wanted her on the 2008 ticket after she finished a close second to Obama in the primaries. But she is arguably more valuable to the administration -- and the nation -- as secretary of state then she would be as vice president, a position with few prescribed official duties.

"I don't believe what I read," Clinton said with a laugh during during an appearance at the "Most Powerful Women Summit" in Washington on Wednesday. "I have absolutely no interest and no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories and moving on." She added that "the vice president is doing a wonderful job."

Swap talk is nothing new. In August, a Time magazine writer suggested Obama should consider dumping Biden as he plans his reelection bid. "Amid two wars, a stubborn unemployment rate . . . might the White House need a little star power to jump-start what could be a tougher reelection than expected?" wrote contributor Dan Fastenberg. "As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has been striking the same tone as Team No Drama Obama, as opposed to the human gaffe machine."

Earlier that month, former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder wrote in a Politico op-ed piece that Obama should replace Biden with Clinton, in part because she would help win back "middle-class independent voters," who have drifted away from the president. Working-class voters, said Wilder, have always been "more enamored of Clinton." The former governor, who is African American, didn't say it, but "working class" in this context could be code for white voters, a group Hillary ran stronger among than did Obama when they opposed each other -- sometimes bitterly -- in the 2008 primary campaign. Wilder went on to make a case against Biden, saying his verbal blunders are not only fodder for late-night comedians but have undermined "what little confidence the public may have in him."

In a piece for the Washington Post website in June, Sally Quinn wrote that Clinton and Biden, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, should switch jobs. She argued that Clinton has done "an incredible job" at State and, even in her late 60s, would be a strong candidate for president in 2016, while Biden, who is older, has no intention of seeking the White House. In the short-term, Obama and Clinton would be a "near-unbeatable team" in 2012, according to Quinn.

A month earlier Politics Daily's Eleanor Clift beat everyone to the punch by suggesting the same thing. She wrote that "Obama's loyalty only goes so far," and if polls show an Obama-Clinton ticket would run stronger in 2012, he "might well have Biden step aside." Besides, Clift argued, Biden "would be a natural at the State Department."

But Biden as vice president got an endorsement Tuesday night from one of his predecessors, Walter Mondale. "Joe Biden is truly a great vice president," Mondale told a crowd in St. Paul, with Biden looking on. "He's truly helping the country and our president, at home and abroad. He's a strong, seasoned voice. He knows Congress and he nation."

It's been more than three decades since a president has thrown his vice president overboard. A change at the top can be seen as a sign of disarray, panic even. Dan Quayle, regarded by his critics as a lightweight, survived in 1992 but the Bush-Quayle ticket lost to Clinton-Gore. The last president to make a change was Republican Gerald Ford, who replaced Vice President Nelson Rockefeller with Sen. Bob Dole in 1976 and went on to lose to a peanut farmer from Georgia named Jimmy Carter. Mondale was his running mate.

Click play below to watch Bob Woodward discussing the possibility of a Biden/Clinton swap on CNN:

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157 Comments

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bret

Obama isn't going to dump Biden for Clinton, Clinton is going to dump Obama and run again for the Presidency!

October 06 2010 at 10:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
punnster

Hillary knows that to get closely associated with this White House would be suicide for any future political aspirations.

October 06 2010 at 6:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to punnster's comment
catalogsplus

That's exactly why she is now unelectable. She has come out many times since 2008 and staunchly supported Obama's flailing agenda. So we must believe to elect her, is to elect for more of the same.

October 07 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ttdq

There is no brass ring for Hillary to go for. By the time she is able to run, there will still be a country, but no one will want a democrat to run it. Then, there will be the age problem.

October 06 2010 at 6:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
sysaphus71

Hillary better go for the brass ring now..... if Obama gets reelected ,,,there won't be a country left to run in 2016

October 06 2010 at 5:10 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
dealemilyn

Had Hillary Clinton won the democratic nomination in the last presidential election, I would have voted for her over McCain.

October 06 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
vinbalmoral

VP I hope not. Madam Pres I hope so.

October 06 2010 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ERCO/Public

As far as one can tell, with or without Clinton, president Obama is just a one term president. The country will be better without him.

October 06 2010 at 4:01 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Bob

I'm voting for Obama and not Hillary (again)

October 06 2010 at 3:19 PM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bob's comment
christierandall

There are many who think like you Bob...me included. I have a feeling that some people are going to be very surprised at the dem turnout this November.

October 06 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jimcasford

I know a lot of democrats who said they wouldn't vote democrat if Hillary didn't get the nod, then voted Obama like nothing happened. If Hillary is on the next ticket, they'll vote her in like nothing bad has happened between 2008 and 2012 because democrats don't make mistakes, just ask one.

October 06 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jimcasford's comment
christierandall

Yeah but come on jim...look at the other choice..McCain/Palin. As soon as he picked her as a running mate even the republicans were stampeeding to the polls to vote for Obama.

October 06 2010 at 10:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
madsarro

even the mere rumor signals panic in the obama tent. axelrod knows obama can't win, so he surreptitiously tosses out a plan that he publicly denies to see if it could spark life into the obama corpse. hillary knows that she can't rescue obama, but she may step over him to take the opportunity once again to be queen.

October 06 2010 at 1:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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