October 29th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Bill Clinton hindered wife's VP chances, Plouffe says

Obama was seriously considering picking Clinton as his running mate, a new book reveals.
Obama was seriously considering picking Clinton as his running mate, a new book reveals.

(CNN) - Some Democrats had dubbed the possibility of a Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton pairing last year as a "dream ticket," though the notion that the two once-bitter primary rivals would team up always seemed far-fetched.

But then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was more seriously considering picking Clinton as his running mate than any of his senior aides realized, according to a forthcoming book by former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Yet in the end, it may have been her husband Bill Clinton - who had made headlines for his outbursts on the campaign trail during the primary season - that ultimately scuttled the possibility.

In the new book, excerpts of which are running in the new issue of Time Magazine, Plouffe said Obama took both him and senior aide David Axelrod by surprise when he insisted on including Clinton on the initial list of potential picks for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

"Obama was clearly thinking more seriously about picking Hillary Clinton than Axelrod and I had realized," Plouffe writes. "He said if his central criterion measured who could be the best VP, she had to be included in that list."

While Obama continued to consider picking Clinton throughout the summer of 2008, he ultimately eliminated her name from the list in early August, fearing, Plouffe writes, that there "were just too many complications outweighing the potential strengths."

"I think Bill may be too big a complication," Plouffe quotes Obama as saying. "If I picked her, my concern is that there would be more than two of us in the relationship."

The new book, titled The Audacity to Win, hits book stores November 3.

soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Can you blame him!? He's now stuck with Biden!

    Look who he ended up with... Biden the Clown.

    I'm sure he regrets that now. Fortunately, the liberal media (CNN) will continue to cover for Biden's gaffes and keep going after the past VP.

    October 29, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. George

    She will still be great in 2012 if Biden would deciide not to take it,

    October 29, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. I told you so

    And who cares about that????

    October 29, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. A new set of lies wil be coming soon

    The reality is that Bill had the "audacity" to call the coward in chief out for him playing the race card.

    Funny how the coward in chief uses the "card" whenever anyone questions him and the media that selected, elected and protected him are all to happy in their compliance.

    Hillary was superior to this fraud and we are paying for the progressives stupidity every day of his "rule".

    Smart progresives, are you kidding me, you got lead around like the blind sheep that you are.

    October 29, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. dan smith

    What about Biden's outrageous comments? That was of no concern to him? What a pair og morons.

    October 29, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  6. Anonymous

    That would have been 2 unqualified people running the country. Not that it's making any difference at this point.

    October 29, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  7. dan smith

    Obama forgot to tell everyone during the campaign that all that change he was talking about was all that any of us will have left by the time he's done taxing us into oblivion.

    October 29, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  8. cat

    When did he find time to write a book? As far as I see it, he is shirking all his presidential responsibilities, he is motivated by pure ego and the need to always be in the spotlight. Well, he had never achieved anything prior to getting elected, so why should we expect anything different now? Just loves hearing himself talk and his photo ops. I hope all his plebes run out and buy the book, they are already brainwashed at this point. The rest of us need to keep our heads very clear on what this president is doing to our great country.

    October 29, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Mark

    This will be Obama's desperate move for the next election but will end up making things worse.

    October 29, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. mike

    Hillary would have made a great VP but the republican critics would
    have had a field day in comparing Bill to Barack and trying to disrupt
    the focus on the issues in the White House look what they say when
    Joe Biden talks about issues and when they come true no one says
    a word about it

    October 29, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  11. James-STL

    She should have been at the top of the ticket. We would be in a lot better shape!

    October 29, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. SEL

    Well, if Obama really thought that, than he isn't as bright as I thought he was.
    But I think I like the way it worked out better.

    October 29, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. Jobiedav

    Secretary Clinton is doing an excellent job at the State Department. The country's better off with her at that job.

    October 29, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. Tina

    I think Obama should have picked Clinton. As far as Bill being "too big of a complication", Maybe Obama would be a better president if he took some advise from Bill. I miss the Bill Clinton years. They were a lot better than the Bush/Obama years.

    October 29, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  15. Libertarian

    You know...I'm tired of hearing that Palin is more qualified for President! The role of the President is "FAITHFULLY execute Federal Law". Palin has no idea what the Supreme Court does....did anyone see her Katie Couric interview? LOL!!!!! This is why the woman won't do interviews anymore!!! So let's compare education and see who we trust to "Faithfully execute federal law" and not set them aside.

    President Obama:
    J.D., Magna Cum Laude, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
    President, Harvard Law Review (first African-American ever elected)
    B.A., Political Science, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
    University of Chicago Law School
    TAUGHT General Law, Constitutional Law and Government Affairs

    Ms. Palin:
    University of Idaho and various community colleges (6 years!)
    – Bachelor's degree in communications-journalism

    October 29, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  16. Debby

    Oh baloney, this is after the fact. Obama would never have picked her, because he and his wife didn't want to be upscaled.

    October 29, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Ralph Kramden

    They had such great chemistry. They would have been great to watch. He is so awesome and I am surprised that she wouldn't want to be that close to him.

    October 29, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  18. annie against biased news

    As obama plummets in the polls he is trying to grab on to Hillary's shirttail.

    October 29, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  19. Willy Brown

    Who cares. He'll be voted out along with doofus Joe in 2012

    October 29, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  20. jp,michigan

    I for one am glad he didn't pick Hillary, for he would have taken her down with him. Hillary states she won't run again, I hope she will reconsider. Bill Clinton is not a problem, rather he is a plus but the Obama lites are afraid to admit it. Even with 30 plus Czars and hundred of advisers, Obama will fall like Humpty Dumpty and never be able to fool the American people again!

    October 29, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. bill

    The only reason Obama is president, after his Biden choice, was because of the preposterous choice of Sarah Palin by McCain. A lot of people, men and women, were angry at Obama for dissing Clinton.

    October 29, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  22. themoi

    Sounds like he would have had the same dilema as Princess Diana had when she said (referring to Camilla Parker-Bowles) "Well, there were 3 of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

    2's company, 3's a crowd esp. when you have 2 strong personalities like the Clintons.

    Would have been a "dream ticket" but a nightmare for Obama and he has enough of those right now!!

    October 29, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  23. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    I would like to have seen the "dream ticket" but I too, agree with the final assessment, that Bill would have been hard to control and he was having these irrational outbursts towards the end of the campaign.

    Kinda like McCain did throughout the campaign.

    October 29, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  24. Von Bismark-Vienna

    Bill Clinton's words came back to hurt him or rather his wife, whose interest he was trying to protect.
    The wages of greed?

    October 29, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  25. marty

    First, I really think that if our President wanted Secretary Clinton as his VP, he would have done so. He seems pretty comfortable in his own skin when making decisions and his choice seems to be working out well. Second, politicians, more than anyone else, seem to blow off campaign darts and arrows – in both parties. I'm always amazed at how every critic of our former president seems to know what he's thinking or what he's really saying. The critics should take a deep breath.

    October 29, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
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