(CNN) – While President Obama and his top aides have repeatedly said they're not even thinking about the 2012 campaign yet, Vice President Joe Biden revealed that they actually are considering it at least long enough for Obama to have recently asked Biden to run again as his running mate in two years.
A senior White House official confirmed to CNN the accuracy of the quotes Biden gave this week to The New York Times, but downplayed the significance of the comments by saying it's an "accepted fact" that Obama is likely to run for re-election again.
And after days of overheated media speculation about whether Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may replace him on the ticket, the senior White House official said Biden was merely being forthcoming about a very brief conversation he had with Obama about their possible future plans.
"I tell you what, there's real trust, that's why he's asked me to run again," Biden told the New York Times. "Look, he said, 'We're going to run together, are you going to run?' I said, 'Of course, you want me to run with you, I'm happy to run with you.'"
It's hardly a shock that the President is likely to run for re-election, especially given the fact that CNN and others have already reported that top White House aides David Axelrod and Jim Messina are likely to leave Washington in early 2011 in order to help set up the re-election campaign in Chicago.
Nevertheless, White House aides have repeatedly tried to project the image that the President is not going to look past the 2010 midterm elections to begin considering 2012 machinations, and that he's far more focused on creating jobs in the short-term than mulling over politics down the road.
"I think the president, if he were here, would tell you that he spends next to no time thinking about his reelection in 2012 and spends his time with his team here working on how to strengthen our economic recovery," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at his daily briefing on Sept. 21 when a reporter asked a political question.
Gibbs added on Sept. 17: "I don't think the president has up till this point or does currently spend a lot of time thinking about the political season of 2012. That's - I think we'd all admit we're in the midst of the 2010 election season, but 2012 is a long way away. So I don't think the president spends a lot of time thinking about this."
The senior White House official said the Vice President's comments are consistent with the sentiment expressed by Gibbs and other top aides because Obama and Biden spoke "no more than 10 seconds" about the likelihood of them sharing a ticket again in 2012.
And after all of the speculation about a potential Obama-Clinton "dream ticket" recently sparked by journalist Bob Woodward, the senior White House official said Biden simply "told the truth" about the situation when asked about it by a New York Times reporter.
The speculation that Obama might dump Biden as his running mate and shift him over to the Secretary of State job in favor of Clinton was sparked by Woodward in an interview last week with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
"It's on the table," Woodward said on John King, USA. "Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012."
Gibbs quickly poured cold water on the claim by saying, "No one in the White House is discussing this as a possibility."
It turns out that by his own acknowledgement, Woodward's claim was not based on inside information from the current White House, but instead came from a relatively old conversation he had with Mark Penn, one of Secretary Clinton's political advisers, for the journalist's new book "Obama's Wars."
"Well I said it's on the table but you know, it's like, you know, a book's on the table, you may read it in the summer," Woodward told Foreign Policy magazine.
Susan Glasser, editor of the magazine, pressed Woodward, "But you're not saying you have any independent knowledge of sources telling that right now President Obama is contemplating such a thing."
"No, of course not," said Woodward.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked during Thursday's briefing whether Obama has decided to run again in 2012.
"If he has, he hasn't told me," Gibbs said.
But during an event at George Washington University on Tuesday, Obama hinted at a second term:
“If you were excited in 2008, that was the beginning of the journey, not the end of the journey,” Obama said, adding, “To use a sports metaphor, it’s only the end of the first quarter.”
– CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.
This administration is full of liars and crooks - worse than the Clintons. Transparency was promised, but all we get are back room deals and special interests. Obama and his cronies are so bad, now even Billary Clinton look like saints.
Don't vote for the democrats. The economy can't take any more hits.
They'll get my vote!
Should the "Republican tsunami" come to pass, it will be a repudiation of Obama-Biden. Democratic survival in Limbaughland will then require a Hillary-X ticket. In two years, Obama has managed to change a sweeping mandate into a mass of democrats who are running for cover. What a pity. The Limbaugh technique works.
What is it Obama's way saying no or Bidmouth saying yes?
Obama is a master campaigner, and an apprentice at everything else, especially governing. Even now, he is filling up his schedule with campaign appearances instead of tackling the daunting challenges that continue to face our country and erode our economic and political stability. I would say that the team needs to turn it around in this term, or the people will turn them out before the next one. The horse before the cart, please.
Run Barry Run... because my 5 year old would beat you in the 2012 election.
Obama is so done its not even funny. What a disaster of a president!!!
Biben's and Obama's plans in 2012 is retirement. After destroying this country in four years, you both need to retire. You deserve it
If politicians worried about things other than re-election, they might...well, they might get re-elected.
"it's an 'accepted fact' that Obama is likely to run for re-election again."
Technically, he would be running for election "again", not re-election. He hasn't run for re-election the first time.
Obama/Clinton 'dream ticket' sounds like a great idea. Has Hillary asked him to be her vice president yet?
First, Biden had Presidential aspirations of his own and he is probably dilusional enough to think he may run for President in 2016. Second, in order for it to work it is Biden that would have to make the move to step down.
However, if he were to walk away from 2012 and open the door for Hillary, it would be the most unselfish thing to do in giving America it's first female VP, and perhaps first female President which in my opinion is very much needed. At least one that is qualified that is.
I guess the Democrat liberal ticket in 2012 will be like the circus parade coming to town with all the clowns.
Please do NOT put Clinton as the VP. Keep Biden. You had it right the first time. We don't need another big business Dem complicit with the GOP agenda of deregulating Wall Street and outsourcing American jobs in the name of "free trade".
He needs to get a clue. No jobs means no re-election, plain and simple.
Please Mr. President, don't leave us. Please run again. We will get "fired up". We promise.
Unless Odumbo can turn this economy around he is done. I dont care how much he sugar he throws on top of this pile of crap economy, it is still crap.
Cant wait to see how he gets through the next two years with all of his little buddies gone/fired. He may have to do some real sucking up if he wants anything done in Congress.
Lame duck Odumbo wont be able to hand out money like its candy anymore. I dont think he will be able to handle that.
Obama’s ’12 plans would seem to be rather limited… after all, there are only so many countries that do not extradite to the US.
You might want to have a backup plan, Joe, as our plans may not include you.
He should be impeached. He ran saying no taxes for the middle class and now what does his DOJ argue in the courts over the obama health care bill? He says that forcing people into government health care and has admitted that forcing people to pay for it is a tax and therefore the tax is legal. Wake up democrats and liberals, you are going to be taxed like everyone else if the courts do not find this unconstitutional or the Republicans do cannot kill this law.
Obama and Biden are a couple of lying clowns who have no idea what they are doing..Obama only knows how to spend money..
I would love to see the look on Joe's face when Obama pulls him into his office and says " who in the hell told you this obviously i didn't"...
I must admit, I am somewhat critical of this decision but I trust our intelligent president to do the right thing.
Oh well it wont be long till Palin and her bed partners, tea party and fox news people will have something nasty to say about this.
Great all the libs will love Dumb and Dumber running again. Another four years of job killing from that pair would just about do us in.