Gates: Reid called me about being Obama's running mate in 2008
Bob Gates and Harry Reid in 2006.
January 9th, 2014
10:40 AM ET
3 months ago

Gates: Reid called me about being Obama's running mate in 2008

(CNN) - Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid called then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates in 2008 to say he was considering Gates as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, according to the ex-Pentagon chief's new memoir.

In an exchange recounted on page 262 of the book, "Duty," Reid quizzed Gates on the phone about his political history. Gates was appointed Defense Secretary by former President George W. Bush in 2006 and remained at his post as part of Obama's team of rivals.

The detail is one of many surprising nuggets from Gates' new memoir, which offered scathing critiques of Congress and the Obama administration.

Here's an excerpt from Gates' book about the conversation with Reid:

"It took a lot of willpower for me to keep from bursting out laughing. He asked me if I had a public position on abortion; I laughed, saying no. He asked if I was a longtime Republican. I said, actually no; I hadn't been registered with either party for many years. He asked how long I had been an academic. He wanted us to keep all of this very private between us. "Possibly nothing will come of it," he said. I couldn't figure out if he was serious, if it was just idle flattery, or if he was delusional."

In his book, Gates adds "It was so weird," and says he never told anyone "in part because I didn't think they'd believe me."

A Democratic source tells CNN the phone call was Reid's idea, not the Obama campaign's.

CNN also reached out to Reid's office for comment.

Obama famously went on to choose then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate in 2008. Others on the short list included then-Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, then-Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, and then-Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas.

Gates' book includes strong criticism of Biden, saying "I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

Obama said in a November interview that choosing Biden was "one of the best decisions that I've ever made."

Gates' memoir is set to be released next week.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Harry Reid • President Obama • Robert Gates
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    That is surprising. That's actually the first surprise I have heard.

    January 9, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Were I Bob Gates, I probably would have laughed as well. The fact remains: Bob Gates is NOT and never will be Vice President of the United States. At any rate, Gates was flattered enough to stay on as Secretary of Defense.

    Too bad John McCain can't sit back and laugh at who he ultimately chose as his running-mate. Same can be said of all candidates who have lost their bid to become President of the United States.

    The things that get the media to stand up and take notice truly amazes me.

    January 9, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Econ301

    I'm not Surprised, Gates is a good man. I would have welcomed this.

    January 9, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. simplyput

    Obama=Reid=Cutter. Since when does my senator contact me when I leave feedback for Crossfire? Since today. I believe Ms. Cutter was with Reid before the WH.

    January 9, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    simplyput

    Obama=Reid=Cutter. Since when does my senator contact me when I leave feedback for Crossfire? Since today. I believe Ms. Cutter was with Reid before the WH.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You were contacted by your senator because of feedback you posted on a televison show website? Really? REALLY???!!!

    January 9, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. izak

    Bob Gates could have waited like a gentlman until his Presidents term was over. He is a Republican alright , no decency for the president who wanted his service.

    January 9, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. The REAL Truth...

    In retrospect, that might not have been a good decision, given the true vindictive GOP nature exhibited by Gates in his recent "tell-all" book.

    January 9, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    The REAL Truth...

    In retrospect, that might not have been a good decision, given the true vindictive GOP nature exhibited by Gates in his recent "tell-all" book.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    When you factor in "Bridgegate" and all of the so-called "Obama scandals" created by the rightwing because they lost, it's obvious that vindictive is all the right has.

    January 9, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Country Above the Parties

    Gate, Gate, Gate, just when i used to think you were above the fray of dysfunctional low class GOP. POTUS crossed the party line and hired you as Defense Sec. and this is what you repay you boss–while he is still in the office. Where is your criticisms of Bush and Cheney, the ones who started the unnecessary and extremely costly wars and left the country in downfall off the cliff?

    January 9, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I am sure it is difficult being called out for your performance. The " Snowdens" and " Gates" have had a front row seat. I just wonder when the " not so bright" folk in the U..S. will catch on and figure out what a farce we have for President.

    January 9, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Tony D

    Robert Gates does not strike me as a politcial animal or as the type to go out on the campaign trail. I think this type of questioning was done for other reasons.

    January 9, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Profile Of The Typical Democrat Voter

    Profile Of The Typical Republican Voter

    1. Thinks they themselves are rich.
    2. Makes less than $100,000 per year.
    3. Has a net worth less than $200,000.
    4. Directly benefits from the ACA, but really, really hates Obamacare.
    5. Primary residence is on wheels or blocks.
    6. Racist.
    7. Thinks they are religious but they should read the book, "How NOT To Be A Republican" (a.k.a. The Bible).
    8. Probably retired and depending on SS and Medicare or will be the person most likely to need SS and Medicare.
    9. Likes to vote against their own interests.
    10. Acutally thinks republicans represent THEM!!!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    1. On Welfare
    2. On Food Stamps
    3. Have Spinning Rims
    4. Spend Their Last Dollar on Nike's
    5. Unattractive (usually Obese)
    6. Frightened of Soap
    7. Get's upset when free clinic runs out of hypo's
    8. Has a minimum of 5 abortions (or 5 kids) while in poverty
    9. On Parole
    10. Actually thinks the Democrats care about them

    January 9, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Profile – Stupid much? Keep up that craziness because it is attracting a lot of the moderates to the Democratic Party.

    January 9, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Laverne

    If Bob Gates was such a man of integrity he would have not come out with all this mess while the current president is still in office. He has lost all credibility with most who did respect him. This is the problem with having the enemy in your camp pretending they are just in it to serve the country and party affiliation does not matter, yeah right! Gates has stabbed Obama in the back in the most sneaking and cowardly way. At the end of the day its all about getting back in the good graces of the republicans and the money he will surely make off this book because so many hate Obama will spend their last dime to read trash!!!!

    January 9, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |