Joe Biden Is in This for the Long Haul.

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Bob Woodward looks at the 2012 presidential election, and sees Barack Obama running with his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton:

"It's on the table," veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward told CNN's John King in an interview Tuesday on John King, USA. "Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012." [...]

"Now you talk to Hillary Clinton or her advisers and they say 'no, no there's not a political consideration here,'" Woodward continued. "Of course the answer is, you point out to them that her clout around the world when she goes to Europe, Asia, anywhere is in part, not just because she's Secretary of State or because she was married to President Clinton, that people see a potential future president in her."

You don’t actually need to know politics to know that this is nonsense; only one president in a hundred years has run for re-election without their current vice president, and those were very special circumstances. In 1940, after fighting off a primary challenge from his then-Vice President, John Nance Garner, Franklin Roosevelt won the Democratic nomination and chose Henry Wallace as his running mate. Four years later, to placate party leaders who saw Wallace as a little too left-wing for a three-time incumbent running for re-election, Roosevelt chose Harry S. Truman as his replacement.

If political weakness were all it took for incumbents to change running mates, then Jimmy Carter -- one of the weakest presidents in recent memory -- would have jumped for the opportunity. But as we see with Roosevelt, it takes far more than simple political weakness to make that choice. To change running mates is to announce that you don’t have much confidence in your government, and unless you’re supremely confident that the public will vindicate you, it’s a stupid decision to make. I’m sure it’s fun for Woodward to play “what if,” but barring something huge -- like a primary challenge -- I’m 99.9 percent certain that Joe Biden will stay on as Obama’s running mate in 2012.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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