Did Hillary Turn Down the Veep Slot Two Weeks Ago?
August 17, 2012 - 8:00 am
During Thursday night’s “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC, “The Amateur” author Ed Klein said that according to sources within the Clinton camp, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was approached about the possibility of beingPresident Barack Obama’s running mate in November. And, Klein said, she turned it down.
Pundits and talking heads have discussed in recent weeks the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden being replaced on the Democratic presidential ticket, particularly with news of his brief hiatus from the spotlight this weekend.
“Up until just a couple of weeks ago the White House was putting out feelers to see if Hillary would accept the vice-presidential nod and replace Joe Biden,” Klein said. “Bill Clinton was, I’m told, urging his wife to accept the number two slot. He saw this as a great launching pad for her for running in 2016.”
“But then Hillary had lunch in the White House a couple of weeks ago with Valerie Jarrett — Michelle [Obama]’s best friend, senior adviser to both the first lady and the president … and she told Valerie that she would not accept the vice president’s spot. The lunch was ostensibly about other matters, but it came up. … Hillary felt burned out after four years as Secretary of State. But I’m told there were more important reasons for her not accepting.”
Those reasons, Klein explained, involve the former first lady being put in positions that would make her vulnerable if she should decide to run for president four years from now.
“She felt that if she were on the ticket with Obama and he lost, she would be tarred as a loser when she tried to run in 2016,” Klein said. “On the other hand, if she was on the ticket and he won, and he continued his far left-wing socialistic policies, she’d have to defend those policies when she ran in 2016.”
Klein said the talks never involved President Obama out of fear that if Clinton were to turn him down, her husband former President Bill Clinton would leak it out and embarrass Obama.
Maybe that’s what’s happening right now. Who told Klein about all this? The article says “sources within the Clinton camp.” Obviously Hillary talked to Bill, and Bill, still seething from having the race card played against them four years ago, leaked. Elvis couldn’t resist giving another performance.
Legally the Democrats still have about three weeks to replace Biden (and Obama too, for that matter, who could still pull an LBJ move, but won’t). Hillary would have been the most obvious choice, certainly more so than the soda-banning, gun-grabbing mayor in New York, but Andrew Cuomo might have been a decent choice too. You’d need someone who seems credible and not off his rocker and not extreme, so Bloomberg is out, as is nearly the entire Democrat caucus in Congress. Pelosi? Please, please, please, Democrats, put her on the ticket.
The replacement rumor-mongering is about the juiciest thing to hit the campaign so far. Imagine if you’re Joe Biden hearing about all this, after a week of gaffes and bombs and a career of being wrong about everything. You know Hillary is duplicitous and far smarter than you are (er, if you’re self-aware, and there’s no evidence that Biden is that). So you’ve had this disastrous week just as Romney’s running mate turns out to be the smartest kid in the room. Now you’ve been called into the White House for a private lunch with the boss, and then sent home to Delaware. In any profession but politics you’d expect to get a phone call and to see UPS show up at your door toting boxes full of your office stuff.
But now, you have to be thankful that Sarah Palin (!) saved your job by forcing Obama to keep you.
What a week.
All of that said, I doubt the replacement conversation ever got very serious. Bill may be doing a Doug Wilder and is jacking with Obama because Biden was always such a poor choice and keeps proving that every day. If the replacement gab did get serious, then the Obama camp is far more desperate and scared than even I think they are, and I think they’re terrified.