White House press secretary Jay Carney on Friday said President Obama “never considered” dropping Vice President Joe Biden from the 2012 campaign ticket and “would have laughed it out of the room” if presented with the idea.
Carney's comments came after excerpts from a forthcoming book about the presidential campaign, "Double Down", by Mark Halperin and John Heliemann, claimed that senior campaign officials weighed replacing Biden with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The idea was pushed by then-Chief of Staff William Daley and was discussed with focus groups and poll tested. Senior aides eventually dropped the idea after concluding that Clinton would not provide a sizable political bump to override any controversy.
“Campaigns, pollsters test a lot of things,” said Carney on Friday about the reports. He said he did not know if Biden was aware that the issue was discussed by campaign advisers.
He went on to praise Biden, saying that he “has been an asset to this president in two campaigns and throughout five years of his administration.”
Carney cited Biden’s work handling Iraq and “his key role on working with Congress on some very important negotiations.”
“Joe Biden is an excellent partner in the president’s view,” he added.
Carney said that during the 2012 campaign, there is “little doubt that he was an enormous asset to the entire cause and enterprise.”
“There was never any doubt from anybody here that he would be the running mate,” he added.
Carney also said that Obama “believes that Hillary Clinton did a magnificent job as secretary of state.”
“He made the right choice in running mate and the right choice in secretary of state.”
Asked if Obama believed Biden would be a good president, Carney responded, “Sure." He said Obama picked Biden for his ticket because he believed he could serve as commander in chief if needed.
In an interview with "CBS This Morning" on Friday, Daley labelled the book’s account “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 also said he believed anyone who suggested to Obama that he drop Biden “would have been thrown out immediately” from the Oval Office.