Biden for prez in 2016?

So CNN’s Candy Crowley decided to ask Joe Biden the other day whether he has any aspirations at all to run for president, which, assuming he isn’t going to challenge his current boss, would mean in 2016. Oy.

Biden decided to give her a non-answer, which translates journalistically into “not ruling it out.” I don’t blame Biden, who’s brain probably just defaulted into the file labeled “Inadvisibility of ruling anything out if you don’t have to.”

For the record, on inauguration day in 2017, Biden will be 74, which would beat the current record for oldest president at time of inauguration, held by Ronald Reagan who was one month shy of his 74th birthday when he was inaugurated for his second term in 1985. Of course, we now know that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s during that term, which takes some of the fun out of the speculation.

The slightly more likely rumor-that-won’t-go-away is that Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will trade jobs in 2012, with Clinton becoming Obama’s running-mate and Biden designated for secretary of state if there is a second Obama term. Biden has said publicly that Obama has already asked him to be on the 2012 ticket and he has accepted. Clinton has declared herself to be done with politics (ha) and dismissed the switcheroo rumors with a less than Shermanesque statement. And it would be unwise to bet on this scenario.

But, c’mon, there will be some polling and focus-grouping done before the 2012 Dem convention and if the three key players were convinced that the switcheroo would help the ticket (and it certainly might), I believe that all previous statements to the contrary would become inoperative in a Minnesota minute.

Writing for Bloomberg, Jonathan Alter laid out the case a couple of weeks ago.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/24/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    Eric’s skepticism regarding Mrs. Clinton is, I think, justified. Her interest in politics will end when she dies. Indeed, a switcheroo of some sort might well help the ticket. I didn’t climb aboard the Obama bandwagon until his nomination seemed inevitable. Clinton was my first choice of the available candidates leading up to the primaries, so I’d be happy to see her as a VP candidate, even with the baggage of her husband to deal with. Hillary and Bill have been under right wing attack for years, so they’re used to dealing with baseless charges from people who, for various reasons, don’t like them personally.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/24/2011 - 02:01 pm.

    ‘Interest in politics’ and interest in seeking elected office are two different things. I think that Clinton is better at being the power behind the throne — as far as I know she hasn’t run for elected office since graduating from college.
    In terms of visibility and responsibility, switching to VP would be a step down.
    I could see her accepting a draft to run for President in 2012, but not for VP.

  3. Submitted by Lance Groth on 10/24/2011 - 03:33 pm.

    Biden for president? No. He has been a good #2 to Obama, despite his tendency to run off at the mouth sometimes. He has enthusiastically supported whatever Obama wants to do, and has done much of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. But he’s not going to run, and he’s not going to be president.

    As for Sec. Clinton, “it depends”. If she’s purely self-interested, then Mr. Brandon would be correct. But, if she’s a good soldier – if she cares more about advancing the Dem agenda and defeating the righties than she does about her own power – it might be possible to persuade her to accept the VP spot. Were I Obama, I’d be trying hard to do just that. Clinton on the ticket would help secure a second term for Obama, and set her up nicely for a run in 2016. As we have seen with the example of Cheney, the power and responsibilities of the VP are malleable. Obama would never grant her the power Cheney had under Bush, nor would I advise him to, but it might be possible to craft a special role that would be more to her liking and that would persuade her to accept the “lesser” role of VP.

    Politics, after all, is the art of the possible.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 10/24/2011 - 03:45 pm.

    History shows that when an incumbent polls in the 40s against an un-named opponent, he’s going to lose because the undecideds have already decided – against him.

    So given that’s Obama’s current situation he may be looking at a hail-mary situation come next summer. Hillary would give the ticket some much-needed testosterone.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/24/2011 - 03:47 pm.

    “they’re used to dealing with baseless charges”…true, but then there’s all those fact based charges…messy business, that.

  6. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 10/24/2011 - 04:00 pm.

    Just out of curiosity, if no Biden or Clinton in ’16, who should run? Who does the Dem bench have on it that people like?

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/24/2011 - 05:06 pm.

    Thomas–
    As usual you have not named any of your purported ‘facts’.

  8. Submitted by Jason Carle on 10/25/2011 - 12:07 am.

    Alan Grayson for President!

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