In Pittsburgh, PA yesterday Vice President Joe Biden put to bed once and for all the rumor started by Bob Woodward that he and Hillary Clinton are going to switch jobs in 2012. Biden said the President asked him if he was going run again, he said, “‘Of course, you want me to run with you, I’m happy to run with you.’ ”
In a New York Times article about Biden trying to energize the Democratic base in 2010, the Vice President addressed the rumored Clinton/Biden 2012 job swap, “I tell you what, there’s real trust, that’s why he’s asked me to run again.” Biden then recounted his exchange with Obama, “Look, he said, ‘We’re going to run together, are you going to run?’ I said, ‘Of course, you want me to run with you, I’m happy to run with you.’ ”
Bob Woodward was once a great reporter. Over time those skills have been replaced with those of a master salesman. The media never seems to notice, but every Woodward book has an attention grabbing rumor in it that is usually not true. The media and Woodward have developed quite a comfy little relationship. Woodward publishes a rumor, and the media because he still has that cache from his Watergate days, treats the rumor as fact, discusses it everywhere, and helps Woodward get to the top of the best seller list.
In this case, the Biden/Clinton swap rumor was solely pushed by Woodward. All of the main players in a supposed swap Obama, Biden, and Clinton have all knocked it down. There is one clear and simple reason why a swap would never happen. It is a move that would reek of desperation. This one move would immediately over shadow the entire 2012 reelection campaign. It would make Obama look desperate to win, and it would contradict Obama’s message of stable leadership that he ran on in 2008 and he will run on again in 2012.
The problem the notion that Obama is desperate, which the whole swap theory relies on, is that the desperation does not exist. In fact, it can be argued one of the biggest perception problems facing President Obama is that he doesn’t exhibit much of a sense of urgency, so it makes no sense for a president who has been nothing but cool, calm, and in charge to suddenly make a panicky decision as drastic as changing his running mate. This decision would not only be out of character for Obama, but it would go against his past pattern of behavior/
There is a possible scenario that could occur that would lead to Hillary Clinton becoming vice president. In 2012, Joe Biden will be 69 years old. He would be 73 by 2016, which would be the end of Obama’s second term. It is likely that Biden has a health related issue and needs to step down that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be tapped to replace him.
I believe how Biden relayed the conversation is the way it probably happened. Obama told him that he wanted to run again and asked him if he would. I don’t believe that a swap was ever seriously discussed, and it’s inclusion in Woodward’s book was done for the sake of publicity. Woodward needed a hook to get people to buy the book, so he ran with a rumor that has been floating around since Clinton was offered the Secretary of State job, so you cancel your order for your Obama/Clinton 2012 lawn sign, but it is never too early to start thinking about where that Clinton 2016 sign would look best.