Clinton-Biden Switcheroo Not Impossible, Unnecessary Column Informs Us

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

With President Obama's reelection in serious doubt, might he actually decide to pull the trigger on the Great Switcheroo — that is, bringing in Hillary Clinton as his running mate and installing Joe Biden as secretary of State? Probably not! But who knows? Personally, we think it would be a pretty good move, politically. Everyone loves Hillary Clinton. Nobody really feels that strongly about Joe Biden. Biden has always wanted to be secretary of State. Clinton secretly still wants to be president someday. It just makes sense.

But just because it's a good idea doesn't mean there's any proof that it will happen. Last summer, Bob Woodward, who knows everything that's going on in the White House at all times, started a major commotion when he told CNN that the Switcheroo was "on the table." But he quickly clarified that the swap was merely something Mark Penn had speculated about before Obama even took office.

Now, seemingly pegged to an interview yesterday in which Clinton said switching with Biden wasn't even "in the realm of possibility," Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Alter is telling us that the Switcheroo is "not impossible":


When Bob Woodward first claimed on CNN in late 2010 that such a switch was “on the table,” I was skeptical .... Then I heard from an old Chicago friend of Obama’s that Woodward was right. Now, with the economy worse and the president as the self-described underdog, I’d say the odds are long — but it’s definitely not impossible.

Two things bother us about this passage. We don't know who this "old friend" is, but assuming it's someone with actual knowledge of Obama's plans, we still don't get why it's significant that he/she agreed with Woodward's "on the table" remark, since, as we just mentioned, all Woodward said is that the Switcheroo was "on the table" to Mark Penn, in 2008.

But then there's Alter's assessment that the odds are "not impossible." Well ... yeah. Despite what Clinton claims, of course it's not impossible. Why would an executive-branch personnel change be impossible? It happens all the time. Removing a sitting vice-president from a reelection ticket is rare, but even that has happened before. So it just doesn't even seem worth mentioning that it's "not impossible." Switching Biden and Clinton was always "possible" and will remain "possible" unless one of them, you know, dies.

Hillary Clinton Over Joe Biden in 2012? Possible: Jonathan Alter [Bloomberg View]