WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s top aides considered replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign but decided it would not significantly help, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing a new book about the campaign.
It was often rumored but always denied by officials that the Obama team was thinking of replacing Biden with then-Secretary of State Clinton.
According to the Times account of the book “Double Down” by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Obama’s top aides secretly had extensive focus-group sessions and polling conducted to consider such a move.
They ultimately decided that adding Clinton would not materially improve Obama’s odds, according to the account.
The White House chief of staff at the time, William Daley, told the Times: “I was vocal about looking into a whole bunch of things, and this was one of them.”
“You have to remember, at that point the president was in awful shape, so we were like, ‘Holy Christ, what do we do?’” Daley said.
With Biden on the ticket, Obama decisively defeated Republican Mitt Romney in the November 2012 election.
The book also says Obama found Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, to be exhausting, and that when the two of them golfed together in September 2011 in an effort aides hoped would bring them together, they did not finish 18 holes.
“I like him ... in doses,” Obama told an aide after the round at Andrews Air Force Base, according to the Times account of the book.
Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Simao