President Barack Obama defensively denied that he considered ditching Vice President Joe Biden as a running mate for Hillary Clinton during the 2012 election on Thursday during an NBC News interview.
Host Chuck Todd grilled the president on allegations made by the recently-released campaign tell-all, “Double Down: Game Change 2012” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
At first, Obama reassured Todd that he was still president while he was campaigning for a second presidential term, while also distancing himself from his presidential campaign staff.
“You know, I am in charge of two million people in the federal government,” Obama said. “And that was true, by the way, even when I was running for president. So people do all kinds of stuff. Some of it they clear with me, sometimes they’re trying to figure something out — particularly on the political side. And I’m not somebody who delves into polling and all that data,” Obama said.
But had the number-crunching polling geeks approached him with conclusive data that dropping Biden from the ticket would ensure a November victory, Obama would have rejected their cold calculations outright. Biden is Obama’s friend, he explained, tactfully employing a double negative to explain his decision to the common voter.
“Here’s the one thing I can say for certain,” he said. “That if they had asked me, I would have said there is no way that I’m not running again with Joe Biden.”
Obama upped the ante, declaring Joseph Robinette “Joe” Biden, Jr. to be the greatest vice president in the history of the United States.
“I genuinely believe that he has been one of the best vice presidents in our history. He also happens to be a friend. He also happens to be one of my most important advisers on domestic foreign policy. I like him. When my back’s up against the wall, he has my back,” he said.
Biden expressed similarly enthusiastic regard for Obama as early as 2007.
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said as he kicked off his presidential run. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”