White House Intrigue: Could Hillary Replace Joe?

October 6, 2010

OBAMA/Could Hillary replace Joe as Barack’s main squeeze in 2012? That’s the juicy bit of palace intrigue enlivening today’s U.S. political melodrama.

It started when author Bob Woodward told CNN that the idea of a Clinton-Biden switch was “on the table” — at least among some Clinton advisers. A switch would mean Hillary becoming President Obama’s vice presidential running mate and Joe taking up her State Department chores.

“President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the 2008 primaries. And so they switch jobs,” explained the veteran journalist whose new book, “Obama’s Wars,”  offers an inside look at the administration. 

It may not be a bad idea given the latest Pew poll showing that Latinos are disillusioned with the political process. Only 51 percent of Latino registered voters are sure to get to the polls in the November midterm elections, according to Pew. That’s bad news for Democrats because Latinos favor them over Republicans by a margin of 65 percent to 22 percent.

But some who might welcome a Clinton-Biden switch could have more than the 2012 campaign in mind.
“The other interesting question is (that) Hillary Clinton could run in her own right in 2016 and be younger than Ronald Reagan when he was WATERGATEelected president,” Woodward added. For the record, Hillary would be 65. Ronnie was the oldest incoming president ever, at 69.

Shocking enough to knock a presidential seal off a podium?
Both ABC and NBC reported finding no evidence that Obama is considering such a plan.
In fact, NBC’s Today Show quoted senior Obama adviser David Axelrod as calling the Woodward scenario “absolute fiction” and talked live to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine who said he’s never heard such talk except in the media.
Apparently, the president believes Biden’s doing a heck of a job as Veep.
But what if Hillary wanted a new job in a second Obama term?
Her most likely destination would be Secretary of Defense, according to NBC. The current Pentagon chief, Bob Gates, is expected to leave before the end of 2011.

So much for that rumor, right? Not so fast.

USAPresidential biographer Douglas Brinkley thinks a Clinton-Biden switch is “already in the works.”

“It’s so logical. I don’t think you can run again with Joe Biden,” he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “You won’t capture the energy.”

“She’s only going to be VP for two years, if they get reelected, and then she would be off running on her own. Otherwise, she’d just be continuing dealing with Afghanistan and it’s not going to be good for her,” Brinkley said. 

Besides, he added, Biden wants to be Secretary of State.

Photo credits: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama, Biden and Clinton); Reuters/Jason Reed (Woodward); Reuters/Jason Reed (White House)

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