Will Hillary Be Barack’s Next Vice President?

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CHINA DAILY/Reuters/Corbis

Even Dan Quayle wasn’t given the boot.

After Quayle picked a fight with a make-believe television news anchor (Murphy Brown), and misspelled “potato” in a grade-school spelling bee, George HW Bush still stuck by his vice president in the 1992 election.

But as Barack Obama starts to begin planning the roll out of his 2012 reelection campaign (the midterms haven’t even happened yet!), might he not help himself from wondering: Dump Biden? The Tea Party movement has complicated matters with the lunch-bucket crowd Biden was brought on to help with. And amid two wars, a stubborn unemployment rate and an oil spill (the list goes on), might the White House need a little star power to jump-start what could be a tougher reelection than expected?

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has been striking the same tone as Team No Drama Obama, as opposed to the human gaffe machine. And ever since her election-year reconciliation with Obama in Unity, New Hampshire, Clinton has been a reliable partner for Obama.

Indeed, the chattering classes have already begun wondering whether Clinton might be called on to step in. Writing for Politico on August 2, former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder set the ball in motion positing such a replacement. The topic was also fodder for The Chris Matthews Show on August 8, and The Wall Street Journal has also penned an essay, with the tantalizing headline, Hillary for Vice President? Some are even saying Biden and Clinton could switch roles, given Biden’s long tenure on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

If it’s hard envisioning Obama providing a private “teachable moment” to Biden in which the vice president is notified he’s no longer number #2, it’s with good cause. An incumbent president has not switched running mates since 1976, when Gerald Ford brought on Bob Dole to replace Nelson Rockefeller. And even then, Rockefeller had only become vice president as a result of non-election appointments after Watergate.

Historically, however, the trend was more common. As president, Franklin D. Roosevelt had three different vice presidents over his four terms. Nevertheless, were Obama to follow in the footsteps of FDR, it would no doubt be, in the words of Biden himself, “a big f**ing deal.”

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