According to the new book “DOUBLE DOWN” by “Game Change” writer Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, President Obama’s top aides secretly considered replacing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the 2012 ticket, undertaking extensive focus-group sessions and polling in late 2011 when Mr. Obama’s re-election outlook appeared uncertain.
The aides concluded that despite Mrs. Clinton’s popularity, the move would not offer a significant enough political boost to Mr. Obama to justify such a radical move, according to a newly published account of the 2012 race.
Mr. Biden, who may run for president in 2016, is viewed warily by Mr. Obama’s circle not only for being a gaffe-prone “Uncle Joe,” but also for, in their minds, being overly consumed with his own political future.
And Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, another potential presidential candidate, is described as having been eliminated from vice-presidential contention by Mr. Romney because of unanswered questions about his background and health.
The book is a narrative reconstruction of the behind-the-scenes machinations of the campaigns of Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It details Romney’s search for a vice-presidential nominee. “Project Goldfish,” as his vetting team called its operation, was so secretive that researchers referred to the five finalists by aquatic names — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Pufferfish), former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (Lakefish), Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio (Filet-O-Fish), Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (Pescado) and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Fishconsin).
Romney initially crossed Christie off his short list. The governor’s vetting file was incomplete, and Romney had been bothered by Christie’s propensity to show up late at campaign events and by his lack of physical fitness, the book says.
Mr Christie took fire from many conservatives for embracing Mr Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and is now considered a 2016 contender in his own right.
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