Hillary-Biden Swap Seen as the Nuclear Option

Few see it happening, largely because Biden helps Obama.

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Not only is time running out for it to happen and make an impact, but talk of President Obama swapping Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Vice President Joe Biden has died down because the veep actually helps the president with his base.

Democratic strategists say that Biden is proving to be a valuable link between the sometimes aloof-looking president and labor and blue-collar supporters. What's more, they say, he hasn't made the types of embarrassing flubs, like those of former Vice President Dan Quayle, to force Obama to reconsider who's on the 2012 re-election ticket.

And, says one strategist, it doesn't hurt Biden's situation that all of the campaign literature is stamped with Obama-Biden.

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Still, we asked pollster John Zogby if his surveys sense a desire by Democrats for the type of radical change on the ticket that party elders have been calling for, including talk that either Hillary Clinton or former President Clinton be put in the Number Two slot.

"I'm not picking that up," says Zogby. "It's really not even significant cocktail party talk."

The pollster, in fact, said that Biden helps Obama. "Biden, by and large, is seen as a plus," he said.

As for Hillary, he said swapping her into the vice presidential slot "is clearly seen as the nuclear option. That's viewed as a pretty exciting possibility."

But, he added, "As with Dan Quayle...dumping the Number Two guy is generally an admission of something. Anytime a candidate has to say, "But, but what I really mean,' you stay with what you got."

Joel K. Goldstein, author of The Modern American Vice Presidency: The Transformation of a Political Institution, agrees. In a recent post on the Rasmussen Reports site, he also dismissed the gossip about Biden being dumped.

"Not since 'Paul is dead' has a rumor based on so little proved as enduring as the prediction that President Barack Obama will dump Vice President Biden," he wrote, referring to a furor in the late 1960s over false reports that Beatles great Paul McCartney had died. McCartney is still very much alive.

And, he adds, it would be better for Hillary Clinton to stick to her plans to leave the Obama administration in order to help her chances for running in 2016. "If she plans to seek the presidency in 2016, she may prefer to stand apart from a second Obama administration to protect her independence," he says.

  • See a collection of political cartoons on the GOP hopefuls.
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