Panel on Joe Biden's Clinton Comment

Panel on Joe Biden's Clinton Comment

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - September 11, 2008


SENATOR JOE BIDEN, (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let's get that straight.

She's a truly close personal friend. She is qualified to be president of the United States of America. She's easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America. And, quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me. But she's first rate.


HUME: Partly that's Joe Biden kind of good naturedness and friendship with Hillary, but a peculiar thing to say. One can only imagine what would happen if Sarah Palin said somebody might have been a better choice. There would have been a chorus of amens from the American left, to be sure.

Anyway, there it is, it's out there, and it raises an intriguing question. Some people have wondered whether the big moment at Democratic convention might not have been the great speech as it was dubbed at Invesco field, but instead the non-choice of Hillary.

Fred, your thoughts? You wrote about this.

BARNES: Yes. Look, all you have to do is talk to Republicans in the rust belt--Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and states like that--and they will tell you Hillary would have been a huge problem if she was the nominee and a heck of a lot bigger problem for them as Obama's running mate than Joe Biden is.

Biden has really added nothing to the ticket. And you know, this notion that somehow he's a working class, lunch bucket Democrat is something that I don't think working class, lunch bucket Democrats believe, because he's not that at all.

He is the third senator from Pennsylvania. You never heard anybody from Pennsylvania say that, even though the Philadelphia papers, I guess, cover him some.

But Hillary did have a following. She developed a populist streak, and obviously won in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and those states.

One of the things you find if you talk to reporters, and I have talked to several of them, who go to the McCain-Palin events--it's not hard to find the Hillary people, the women who are there to see Sarah Palin.

But the main -- I just think that if Obama had picked Hillary, would McCain have then picked Palin?

HUME: Good question.

BARNES: It wouldn't have been quite the game changer that it turned out to be, because she had just been the second woman picked at the VP. So I think it's unlikely that he would have.

KONDRACKE: He might have felt pressure to answer a woman with a woman, and it would have been an interesting match-up, because Hillary probably would have taken on Palin a lot more--instead of leaving it to Obama to do.

But the problem with the Hillary nomination is that there is all this stuff of opposition research that's been conducted on her and Bill for years and years and years. The Republicans anticipated that he she would be the nominee. They must have a book, you know, four feet thick of stuff about--

HUME: Do we know down deep why Obama refused to take her? Normally if you have an opponent and an opponent gets nearly as many votes as you do and shows the ballot box strength that she did, that person gets on the ticket. It's as simple as that.

She didn't. What was the real reason, do you think?

KONDRACKE: The two reasons that I heard in Denver were, one, that she would have been a target for the opposition research attacks of the Republicans, and, secondly, and the main reason was, that Obama didn't think you could run a White House with three presidents--namely, himself, Hillary and Bill.

And you would have had a lot of back-channeling and leaking to the press and stuff like that, and he basically couldn't trust her.

KRAUTHAMMER: If we had Hillary against Palin as the vice presidential nominee, it would have been a duck hunter against a moose hunter. That would have been really interesting.

Look, I think the reason that Obama did not choose her-Fred is right--they assumed it was a question of governance.

All of this is before Palin, before the Palin effect, which everybody is surprised about. A month or two ago, it looked as if the Democratic path to the White House was a clear one, and you go for a safe choice.

Biden is a safe choice, except that is, as we saw in that clip, he doesn't know when to stop when he's ahead, saying Hillary might have been a better choice.

But Obama decided on governance. He didn't want to have, as you say, three presidents in the White House. It would have been a place of poisonous palace intrigue for eight years, and it would have been a disaster.

HUME: But would it have helped win the election?

KRAUTHAMMER: Absolutely. That's why I think it was a mistake in retrospect, because if you don't win, you don't govern.

HUME: What does it say about Barack Obama that he doesn't think that he could have kept his vice president in hand?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, she's an unusual vice president, and also the wife of an ex, which has never happened. So there is a lot of baggage which was historically unique in her case, and that's why he stayed away.

KONDRACKE: Look, I think it was a responsible decision on his part, and I don't think he anticipated that McCain could come up with the kind of surprise that he did.

BARNES: Who did?


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