More Hillary For Vice-President Speculation

Once again, Washington is abuzz with rumors that Hillary Clinton will be replacing Joe Biden as the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee in 2012.

Last night, Bob Woodward once again ignited the rumors that Hillary Clinton could replace Joe Biden as President Obama’s running mate in 2012:

Speculating that President Obama will replace Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton on the 2012 ticket has been a private pastime among some Democrats the past few months, and it broke into the open Tuesday night when investigative reporter Bob Woodward said it was a possibility in an interview on CNN.

Appearing on “John King, USA” to promote his book, “Obama’s Wars,” Woodward was asked by King about possible “political asides” that cropped up while he was doing research.

“A lot of people think if the president’s a little weak going into 2012, he’ll have to do a switch there and run with Hillary Clinton as his running mate,” King said, repeating gossip that’s swirled for several months and appeared from time to time on blogs.

“It’s on the table,” Woodward replied. “And some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012. President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the 2008 primaries. So they switch jobs and not out of the question. The other interesting question is, Hillary Clinton could run in her own right in 2016 and be younger than Ronald Reagan when he was elected president.”

Woodward did not offer any evidence that the idea is under consideration by either Obama or Clinton. A senior administration official said that any suggestion of replacing Biden with the secretary of state is totally off base.

Here’s the video:

Like I said, this isn’t a new rumor, it’s been around virtually since the day President Obama took office. And, as I noted back in June when Sally Quinn raised the possibility, it does make a certain amount of sense for Democrats:

Biden, on the other hand, will be 74 when 2016 rolls around and, while he reportedly said last year that a run for President then is not out of the question, it is extremely unlikely that he’d be the nominee.

Republicans faced a similar issue in the run-up to the 2004 elections. There some who believed that Dick Cheney should step aside that year and allow President Bush to select another, younger, running mate who could become the GOP standard bearer in 2008. As it turned out, of course, the last four years of the Bush Administration were disastrous enough that it’s unlikely that his Vice-President would have had much of an advantage in the race for the GOP nomination, to say nothing of the General Election.

Of course, there’s no indication that Obama would even consider asking Biden to step aside in 2012, just as there was no evidence that Bush would have ever asked Cheney to do the same. If he did, though, and assuming that an Obama/Clinton ticket managed to win re-election in 2012, it could set up a very interesting election in 2016.

Nonetheless, the White House was quick to shoot down this latest manifestation of the Clinton-Biden swap rumor:

“There’s absolutely nothing to it,” senior adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday night. “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 to keep them on the job.”

Advisers to Clinton said the same, and another Obama adviser called the idea “nuts.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Biden could decide he doesn’t want to serve another four years as Vice-President — although why he would is somewhat baffling since it’s a job that doesn’t require a large degree of work — in which case Hillary would seem to be a logical choice for the 2nd slot on the ticket.

Until then, consider these little more than another inside-the-beltway rumors.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    Why the hell would someone want to trade the position of Secretary of State–a position with power, prestige, and real consequences–for the do-nothing position of the VP?

  2. Well, if Hillary still have Presidential ambitions, the Vice Presidency is generally a better stepping stone than Foggy Bottom.

    The last time a Secretary of State became President was in 1854

  3. rodney dill says:

    Any changes here will be based on what is the best combination to get Obama reelected. You can expect these “What If” games to continue right up until the running mate selection is solidified.

  4. bandit says:

    Even Obama’s not that crazy – he’ll never be ableto replace the food taster.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Any changes here will be based on what is the best combination to get Obama reelected.”

    Basically true, while in the Clinton camp the calculus will be what will work most effectively to get Clinton elected president in 2016.

  6. Eric J. says:

    Given that second terms tend to be disastrous compared to first terms,and seem to be consumed with dealing with fallout from poor decisions or scandals committed during the first term, I shudder to think what Obama’s second term will look like. Hillary may well be better off finding something else to do during those four years, or remaining Secretary of State and around 2014 finding some matter of principle over which she can break with and distance herself from the administration. (Prediction: treatment of Israeli refugees.)

  7. I think part of the reason people want to replace Biden is that he seems to have the worst case of chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome in the history of US politics.

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    “I think part of the reason people want to replace Biden is that he seems to have the worst case of chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome in the history of US politics.”

    You obviously haven’t read any extracts from Woodward’s book because Biden comes out of it rather well. And for examples of foot in mouth it would be hard to beat Eisenhower. There’s a spoof out there from the fifties of Eisenhower delivering the Gettysburg Address which is a classic. Which doesn’t mean Eisenhower was a idiot anymore than Biden is.

  9. tom p says:

    is Biden going to run for Pres in 2016? Might Hillary?

    Looking at it from that perspective makes the HRC as VP in 2012 a lot more likely.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Hmm. A smart, educated, focused, and hard working woman. Tea party types must really, really hate her.

    > Which doesn’t mean Eisenhower was a idiot anymore than Biden is.

    One of the great men of the 20th century. If he saw what has become of the GOP he would never stop puking…