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. George

    Obama picked Joe, the story should end just at that. Now you can go a head and sell your book. Thanks.

    October 29, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. Enough

    Hillary should have been the president, the country would be in much better condition. For Obama to even consider Hillary for VP makes you wonder about his choices. To choose a rival who he disagreed with, makes no sense to be his running mate..........more like pandering. But that's what Obama is good at. It's past 3am and the phone is still ringing............Hillary would have answered it by now.

    October 29, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. R in Maine

    That Obama considered Clinton makes sense. That Plouffe feels qualified to comment on it does not. He is just another inexperienced half-wit with no accomplishments, trying to sell a book. Just another reporter with no sense of honor or patriotism.

    October 29, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Terry - Indiana

    Sorry, I do not buy it. Bill Clinton did not pull Hillary down. Rather, I believe that many women would not have voted for Hillary, which would have given McCain the election. If women would have really committed and gotten behind Hillary, she would have won the election.

    October 29, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Sniffit

    I'll bet $787B that it eventually outsells that nitwit Palin's memoire. The RNC, PACs and other conservative groups buying her nonsense in bulk to hand out at their conventions as party gifts only gets her so far.

    October 29, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    So long as you consider a "nightmare" a kind of dream...

    October 29, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. D.Fitzpatrick

    Some things happen for the best. As it turned out Secretary Clinton is in a much better position to bring President Obama's policies to the world in a positive light, and has the ability to mend some of the fences throwm up by the Cheney/Bush negativity. Bill Clinton's ego has been taken down a notch as he realizes his wife is the smarter of the pair.

    October 29, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. Matthew

    Thats to bad since anyone would have been better than what we have now.

    October 29, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. susie

    I thought Michelle said NO to Clinton for VP.

    October 29, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. Bananarama Victim II: Electric Boogaloo

    Plain and simple, not pulling punches, this country is more sexist than it is racist anymore.

    Nothing better illustrated this fact than mere weeks after the primaries began, bumper stickers attcking Hillary were prominent among the mud-slingers. It wasn't until Obama won the primaries that ridiculously offensive and defensive bumper stickers would appear opposing his candidacy.

    You can point as many fingers as you want, fact is, this country's collective intelligence seems lower than's G.W. Bush's approval rating in times of big decisions.

    October 29, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Amazing

    Well gee, like that's some big surprise.............Bill and his mouth have gotten him in trouble many times. It would have been a battle as to who was president. The fact that Obama even considered Hillary shows he seriously lacks judgment.

    October 29, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Saxo_Grammaticus

    When it comes to wanting center stage, Bill Clinton is a bit like Teddy Roosevelt, of whom a family member supposedly said, "When Theodore attends a wedding he wants to be the bride and when he attends a funeral he wants to be the corpse."

    October 29, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. Lois

    Hillary would have made a better president. More knowledge and able to make decisions.

    October 29, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. G2

    Politics....Hillary would have made a better president....Mcain would have been even better....Romney would have been the best. But who cares? The election is over now, lets look to the future.

    October 29, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. JLS

    Geez, what a surprise, Bill screwing up something else for his wife.

    October 29, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    Poor Hillary....foiled by the vast left wing conspiracy of Obama and Bill...who says liberals respect women? The to add insult to injury, instead of sending our SOS to pull Al Gore's buddies from Korea...he pandered to a dictator and Bill....

    His next book should be "The audacity to write another book while our people are Dying in Afganistan, unemployment is 10% and all I got was this lousy Nobel Prize."

    October 29, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Mizzb9

    I agree that there might have been 2-4-1 if Hillary was vice president, but that would have been a GOOD thing. When Bill Clinton was president, I had a sense of a copresidency. They are both so smart and admirable, that it is sensible for the duo to feed off of each other's strengths, knowledge and intelligence.

    October 29, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Paul Cooper

    Plouffe quotes Obama as saying. "If I picked her, my concern is that there would be more than two of us in the relationship."

    Oh come on. Bill was quite used to having more than two people in their relationship.

    October 29, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    It would have been a great ticket. Then we would not have Biden saying “…Hillary would have been a better pick than me…”?

    The way it is now was well planned and meant to be. Hillary is doing a great job as Secretary of State – AND, who knows – President Obama MAY want to be president for ONE TERM only? Hmm, this is the reason why he always mentioned the "FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW" and the reason why he is trying to get EVERYTHING done as he promised in the campaign!

    I think – and I will PATENT this thought – President Obama will step aside and Hillary will run in 2012 and give those REPUBLI-CAN’Ts another reason why they are LOSERS!!! President Obama in 2012 could once again run the BEST campaign of ALL TIMES for Hillary Clinton!!! Yes We Can!!!

    October 29, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. proud dem in nc

    She's doing just fine a Secretary of State. You go Hillary!

    October 29, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. Brian

    On the other hand, she probably never would have been a candidate for the VP position or for President., and never been the Secretary of State and a U.S. Senator if it hadn't been for her husband.

    October 29, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. more than two of us in the relationship

    I'm very glad we got her as secretary of state

    as a president, I don't know, even as a VP, she is certainly better than anything the GOP has but I think the Democrats have better and did have better options

    October 29, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It isn't a huge surprise, but she is doing a fine job as Sec. of State. She'll do fine if she runs in 2016.

    October 29, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. sifto77

    Truth probably is that Axelrod and Plouffe chose the VP and eliminated Clinton–as they seem to make all of Obama's decisions for him. He does not seem to be able to make decisions.

    October 29, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Pat F

    It's complicated – if it wasn't for Bill, Hillary would be president or vice-president today, except that if it wasn't for Bill, no one would ever have HEARD of Hillary.

    What a feminist – she is famous because she's the little wifey of the philandering husband.

    October 29, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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