October 29th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Bill Clinton hindered wife's VP chances, Plouffe says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/29/art.obama.clinton.gi.jpg caption="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. Jake

    she is doing a tremendous job as Sec of State!

    i'm looking forward to having her run again in 2016!

    October 29, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. T. van Tol

    Hillary is doing a fine job but notice, it's Obama's strategy she is
    implementing. Dont forget that. He is a lot smarter then most Americans think. A one time President? Forget it! By the day he
    is leaving office he deserves a place at Mt. Ruhsmore. Just wait and see. Period!

    October 29, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Bananarama Victim II: Electric Boogaloo

    I wish I were dumb enough to be a conservative...

    October 29, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Michael

    Makes sense- I love President Clinton- but sometimes it's better to stop a situation before it starts- That was a wise choice for President Obama and team. Hillary is doing a good job as Secretary of State.

    October 29, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Jelani

    Hilary would have been a great ticket however with the race going the way it did of course he was probably concerned with having someone as one of the main links in his chain who he can't truely trust despite all of Obama's critics we aren't currently in a recession and things are turning economically he is creating new policies and trying to move the country in the direction we should have been going form the start like the pilots who pasted their destination and had to circle back that is what he has had to do . turn around the debocles of the previous EIGHT YEARS and spin it in a new direction simply stop hating I would rather have a president with genuine positive intentions that fails then to have one with bad intentions suceed by waging wars to kill and rob other countries to make the United States of America the richest nation in the world.!

    October 29, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Mark

    Hillary is a joke. She wasn't qualified to be president and never will be. As far as being Secretary of State, she stinks at that job as well. Surely, our country has better candidates to offer.

    October 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Angi's Mom

    A Obama/HillaryClinton ticket would have been unbeatable But let's face it, Hillary's campaign got too nasty and ugly. She burned her own bridges to be VP.

    October 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. phoenix86

    The book should be called "The Audacity of Spin".

    October 29, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. rachel

    He was never gonna pick her too bad for us. As far a people saying she was only where she was because of Bill they need to check the facts. Hillary was in TIME magazine before she was married to Bill back in college. She Helped mold this man. Helped him withthis campaign for governor of Ark. She was brining home the money while Bill was the govenor only making 35,000.

    CNN post.

    October 29, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. S M R

    We want Hillary Clinton to be our President from 2016 to 2024. Our Great Country needs ample time to recover from the Bush/Cheney Bankrupting tour!!!

    October 29, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. ICARE

    It was not Bill Clinton's fault. First and foremost, the ELEPHANTS had situations like this before and they came together.

    I just want to say that the Clintons did the right thing in tripping Obama. It is the most powerful job in teh US, and they both have the rights to throw him around.

    If I have to blame anyone (I did vote for Obie), I would blame it on Obama. He could have been his own man, lead and assure everyone that HE can tame them. But he backed off. So now, my gal, Hillary, is not a VP, but she looks great as a Sec of State. Thank God she didnt sit and write and read boring legislation.

    Thank You. And God bless the BRAVE!!! hearts!!

    October 29, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. D.

    Most democrat politicians were against Hillary for this same reason: if she is number one, Bill will be number two, if she is number two Bill will be number one. What active politician wants to be in the shadow of an ex-president? Thus, all the support for the other candidate from established politicians!!!!

    October 29, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Wanda

    It was simple "Hillary + Bill" spells 'BAGGAGE"!

    October 29, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. ICARE

    Come on! We all know Obama was not ready to be President of the United States.

    But like we all said, it's a job that yu can only be ready when you're done with it, after 4 or 8 years of serving in it.

    The minimum requirement is 35 years old and a US Citizen.

    Of all the candidates, yes, Hillary had a BIG PLUS to her. Her man has done it before and it'll be like reading the alphabets over again.

    We made our choice and we decided to pick someone who smiles. Now, we must all live with it.

    Overall, he's only going to get better at making decisions and at running 300-milion Americans. While he puts us on experiment, let us pray!

    God bless all! I would have voted for Huckabee had he won.

    October 29, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Grrr-awful-o

    Why try to throw Bill Clinton under the bus now? He still wields enormous clout and there doesn't seem to be any real political gain in doing this now. He may come out the winner in this new spat. Obama is not nearly as untouchable now as he was during the campaign. What do they think they'll gain from this? Strange!

    October 29, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. J.Crobuzon

    As you can see, the haters despise her for being an outspoken woman who works outside her home. Same reason they love Palin, but I'm not saying they're smart.
    cat, be quiet when the grownups are talking. David Plouffe is not the president, and has no presidential responsibilities. Did you think Obama wrote the book for him?

    October 29, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. ICARE

    If I can vote for Bill Clinton, I'll vote for him again.

    October 29, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Bubble of Sanity

    It's not Bill's fault she lost. It's Obama's fault. The electorate liked him much better, and knew he would be a better president. Blame Obama if you must blame someone.

    Hillary lost the election all by herself. Just like McCain did.

    October 29, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. ICARE

    It goes like this: Bill is smarter than Obama and Obama is smarter than Hillary.

    Had we had Hillary, I believe she would given McCrystal Light, his 40000 troops already, but we have Obama. So, he took his time to review the situation.

    October 29, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Travis In Colorado

    Well America, I hope everyone is happy. In November 2008, America chose to make history rather than to make the right decision. We elected a black man simply because he is black. America voted for a smile, a speech and "good judgement" rather than experience. This is what we got. A man who wasn't sure he could handle Bill Clinton as the husband to the vice president. And we have seen how he handles Afghanistan, Iraq, Somoa, the Olympics, our troops, and our allies. And we have seen how he handles Americas enemies. With open arms. We voted to make history. And now America may BE history.

    October 29, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. No Hillary = No Obama

    Hillary Clinton didn't mince words in Pakistan today – that country has needed to be outed for a long time and she did it. In the last week I saw two cars with Re-Elect Hillary bumper stickers. She doesn't need adoring audiences, doesn't need to be a rock star, doesn't need to be threatened by FOX News. And I recall it was Michele Obama who didn't want Hillary around – putting her own needs and desires above the welfare of the country. I predict this country will never allow a woman President – ever. And they say Muslim countries oppress women – this country is the worst because it has so many more opportunties and riches.

    October 29, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. southerncousin

    Amazed the rest of the world is just figuring this out. Why would Obama pick a running mate, who has a husband who runs his mouth about things he doesn't know about, is completely untrustworthy, is a convicted liar and a known cheat. Instead he picked a running mate who runs his mouth about things he doesn't know about, plagarizes and lies, but is trustworthy and as far as we know doesn't cheat.

    October 29, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. DF

    TOO bad Hilary was not offered the VP. Although Biden is quite a good VP She would have been more helpful in deflecting alot of the criticism that Obama is now getting

    October 29, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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