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.