President Obama's top aides considered dumping Vice President Joe Biden from the 2012 ticket for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a new book.
The revelation is in Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's new account of the 2012 campaign, "Double Down." The New York Times reported excerpts from the book late Wednesday.
According to the account, senior advisers conducted focus-group sessions and polls to gauge bringing Clinton on the ticket in late 2011, when the campaign believed Obama faced a tough re-election bid.
Aides eventually dropped the idea, believing that Clinton’s addition would not offer a big enough political bump to justify such a risky move.
The book’s authors claim then-Chief of Staff William Daley pushed the idea, which was known to only a handful of senior White House and campaign advisers.
Daley told the Times in an interview that he was only conducting “due diligence” and was “vocal about looking into a whole bunch of things.”
“You have to remember, at that point the president was in awful shape, so we were like, ‘Holy Christ, what do we do?’ ” he added.
In an interview with CBS This Morning on Friday, Daley said that the books accounting was a “bit of an overhype.”
“I think one of the jobs of Chief of Staff is to recommend lots of things out of the box, but not for a moment was there a serious discussion or a belief that Joe Biden should be replaced, period,” Daley said. “That doesn’t mean issues were not looked it. Lots of issues in 2011 were looked at.
He added that he believed anyone who suggested to Obama that he drop Biden “would have been thrown out immediately” from the Oval Office.
Former senior Obama adviser David Plouffe, however, denied the book’s account of a possible Biden-Clinton switch.
“Never any — any — consideration of VP/HRC switch. Not even entertained by the only person who mattered. Or most of us. Back to Halloween,” Plouffe tweeted late Wednesday.
Both Biden and Clinton are seen as potential 2016 Democratic contenders, with polls showing the former secretary of state the clear favorite.
This story was first published at 6:13 a.m. and was updated at 9:59 a.m.