October 29th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
4 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. Ron In California

    Hillary isn't on the top of my list for anything but...she would have been a better choice than Biden. Obama could have muzzled Billary I'm sure.

    October 29, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. KayMA

    If Obama really said what he did about picking Hilary, I completely agree. She needs to be her own person, but with that vulture constantly over her shoulder I can see why Obama didn't pick her. It would be like having both Clintons as VP and that's something we really don't want to see.

    October 29, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Potomac Wonderfool

    No, it was not Bill Clinton who scuttled it. It was Obama's perception/fear that Bill would interfere and that there could be a contention between a President and fist man-VP. And Obama does not like any competition. He wants to be the star everywhere. He is acting like Carter who wants to make all decisions but does not have his experience. I am a democrat and now I am suffering the loss of Virginia and possibly NJ and many more American lives in Afghanistan. Call me old fashioned with a Ph.D. in Engineering and management experience. EXPERIENCE does matter. After all that's how Obama selects people. Too bad, majority of Democrats did not value experience over oratory. It should have been Hillary-Barak ticket not Barak-Hillary! Axelrod and Plouffe are all wrong although they managed to win the election with a poorer candidate.

    October 29, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. fumblinstumblinoidiot

    And this is news how??..Bubba can't help but being in the spotlight every second he is awake..did anyone ever really believe he could survive being second banana??

    October 29, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Tommygunn

    It had to be a tough decision..... I would have been happy the other way just as much......

    There was a great casting list to choose from and I'm sure many of us would like to have those choices, if we were to choose....

    October 29, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. jessk

    Everyone knew this. It isn't news to me.

    October 29, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. kdw

    So why does CNN keep asking if HIllary will run again...shifting blames...the media was the blame for what happened to her chances...move on.

    October 29, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Kathy

    I have to agree that Bill became a liability. I think she is a great Sec. of State and am not at all supprised that Obama chose her.

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

    That is the only wise thing he has done!!

    October 29, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Florida Dude

    No surprise there. She clearly is a better fit as Secretary of State in my opinion.

    October 29, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. JT

    The sins of the husband visited on the wife.

    Mysogyny in its very purest form.

    October 29, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. jrzshor

    i have now gone past "amazed" by the obama people. where did they learn and master the art of blame the other guy. it is bill's fault that obama couldn't pick hillary?

    it's, ADD YOUR NAME HERE, fault not obama's that, ADD YOUR CAUSE HERE, THEN CHOOSE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, DID NOT SUCCEED, FAILED, STALLED, WAS TOO EXPENSIVE, ADD OWN GRIPE HERE,. etc

    October 29, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Spencer

    What an original title.

    October 29, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Bonnie C.

    What a dream ticket that would have been!! Maybe next time?? Of course, there's always the chance that Mrs. Clinton will get the nod for the higher post of POTUS!!

    October 29, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. LacrosseDad

    for the first time i can say 'thank you Bubba'.

    October 29, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Marilyn

    Maybe if Bill Clinton was "in the relationship" we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now. Obama could use some help from someone who knows what they are doing, because he certainly doesn't have a clue.

    October 29, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Obama Supporter

    Look forward to reading this book.

    October 29, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. We Won Get Over It

    I am glad he did not pick her, because there would always have been a conflict with the fact that SHE WAS vice president when things went wrong. I think she is a wonderful secretary of state. Being a person who is seen and not heard as vice president was not the role we would have liked for her....she deserves for her talents to be used. Biden is perfect. He is just the type of seen and not heard person needed in that spot.

    October 29, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Tina

    I'd much rather have Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton as President than OBAMA.

    October 29, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. jeff

    Who cares she should have won anyway. BHO gamed the primary system.

    October 29, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Kel

    This is news? I think Biden was really the best choice. I was hesitant at first for Clinton as Sec. of State, but she's done a great job. I really like her, but I think Obama and Biden have better chemistry.

    October 29, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Andy

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

    That's what she said....

    October 29, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. David

    Ol' Willie would find a way to screw anything up.

    October 29, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. A.B.

    I am glad that President Obama decided against appointing Hilary Clinton as his VP and appoint Joe Biden instead. In fact, Obama should not have even appointed her to be Secretary of State. She is not suited to the job and lacks foriegn policy credentials and knowledge. I think that the President should seriously consider replacing Hilary with Bill Richardson and put her in a different cabinet position or just fire her. Bill Richarson brings more to the Secretary of State position in terms of knowledge, skills and abilities than Hilary Clinton.

    October 29, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. MARK

    No doubt, Mrs. Clinton would have been a much better president than Obama. We could not do any worse than Obama.

    October 29, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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