October 29th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
9 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. Bill

    Not to say the Hillary would have been a smart pick, but obviously this guy Obama can't do anything right as we have all experienced the past 10 months including his laughable pick Biden for VP.

    One Big Astounding Mistake America

    October 29, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. William

    Are we running 10 month old stories CNN? There are a lot more politically charged stories than this one going on right now. New York's 23rd District special election?

    October 29, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Independent Senior in Bandon, Oregon

    I like Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. It is a far more substantial job than being vice prez.

    And she is doing a great job.

    October 29, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. No More Incumbents

    He would do or say whatever gave him the best chance to win. Why is this a surprise? It was an election.

    October 29, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |

    Clinton never should have joined the Obama team. I voted for her in the primaries because of her husbands record but to be honest neither she nor Obama showed me anything to be hopeful for other than the gop hated them both so I felt they had to be for average US citizens. DOes anyone understand that we need real world factory jobs that pay a decent wage to sustain the economy in this country. It seems no one in the gop ever does and fewer Democrats seem to realize this.

    October 29, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Mickey, NY

    Hillary should have divorced "cigar boy" when she had the chance...

    October 29, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Obama 2.0

    She and Joe can switch next time! đŸ˜‰

    October 29, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. ejlouis

    As we all know, Bill is responsible for Hillary not being president or vice-president. According to info obtained from another source, Michele was the dissenting voice against Hillary because of Bill.

    October 29, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Beasto

    Probably true- but to be fair, would she ever have been in the running in the first place, or even known nationally, if she wasn't Bill's wife? It's reason enough I think history and feminists needed to keep looking for a first woman president example of strength, self raised and not there because of who they married.

    October 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Obama=Trickle up Poverty

    Obama had to put Hillary in his cabinet, otherwise come 2012 she would run against him and WIN! Obama is a one term president, this is going to be a long 3 years!

    October 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Mike in SA


    So what you're trying to tell us is that the best choice for VP was placed on an early version of the list that at that point probably included about two dozen names (or more) and she was supposedly knocked off because her husband occassionally put his foot in his mouth. And that whole foot-in-mouth thing would be completely unlike the current VP in what way?

    October 29, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. 31m-PA

    That decision to not have Clinton on the ticket was the worst decision he could have made considering that SHE should have been the nominee. The Democrats screwed up big time. I used to consider myself a long-time Democrat, but after they Dems revealed their true colors in 08, I decided never to vote for a Democrat again. What has become of this party who supports a racist with terrorist connections? Who votes for someone like that?

    October 29, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. KLM

    This is news???
    Anyone with brains should have figured this out long ago.
    The biggest strike against Hillary was her association to the Clinton administration, and worse the fact that Bill kept in the limelight trying to support her. Bill may yet prove to be a good statesman, but he was only a lackluster president as will be born out in the writings of history. The best support he could have given Hillary, would have been to keep a low profile.

    October 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. SLM

    Too bad the media threw Hillary under the bus in favor of Obama........just goes to show that the media should NOT be trusted.

    October 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. JasonK

    Clinton was the president that started the demise of the American worker. He was the one that started exporting jobs Bush merely accelerated the process. Hillary was an extension of Bill Clinton's war on the worker. I would have never voted for her because of this and I am pretty sure many are in the same boat.

    October 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Garrett

    This is Dumb....Bill Clinton was the only President in that last 50 years who showed any level of fiscal responsibility. Bill Clinton should be president not Barrak, not Hillary. Barrak Obama has become the most irresponsible President with our budget and is crippling our future and future generations. Bush was bad, Nixon was worse but it looks like Barrak Obama will go down in history as being the all time worst president and we will go into a Depression and we will go bankrupt. Bring back Bill !!

    October 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Jayden,FL

    The Dream Ticket isn't dead just yet! there's 2012....... its all about 2016.

    October 29, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Bev

    You can GUARANTEE that Pelosi did not want Hillary as VP.

    She did not want another woman to outshine/over power her.

    Pelosi wanted all of the power/control--and if Hillary would have been VP, this would not have happened.

    October 29, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Expat American

    As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton can only build upon her already outstanding leadership experience even more; more than she could have as Vice President. In time, Hillary will be the President…that is if she runs again in 2015...which I hope that she does.

    I support President Obama, but President Bill Clinton will always be one of the Party's heaviest hitters! Simply put, he's the king.

    October 29, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. 2010 is going to be awesome

    The gutless fraud "in charge" now was selected, elected and now protected by the media and in spite of Hillary being superior to him in every facet, the sheep voted the way the media told them.

    I respect Hillary but have NONE for Obama, he hasn't earned it.

    Four and the uh, uh, h, uh door Mr "Present".

    October 29, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Observant1

    I wish Obama had select Hillary as his VP. He could have used Bill Clinton to stabilize the economy, because He and Biden is certainly not helping.

    October 29, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Actually some of Obama's hateful and sex-ist followers set the tone to make her out to be a demon of some sort.

    All on old fabricated ultra-con lies – kind of a sick twist in the end.

    October 29, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. franco

    What I find extremely hilarious is that both Clintons remarked, during the campaign, that Obama was NOT qualified to be president. What happen between those remarks and 20 January 2009 that caused an immediate change of heart? Or are the Clintons just playing a game? Difficult to trust politicians these days...it is all about them; character does not play.

    October 29, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Fitz in Texas

    Obama threw Hillary under the bus months before she even knew it.

    October 29, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Bill couldnt help it.Lets crush Rush for the fun of it.

    October 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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