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« Dems Announce House Health Care Bill | Blog Home Page | House GOP On Your Hip »

Biden During Veepstakes: "Last Thing I Should Do"

Time runs some fascinating excerpts from the forthcoming book by David Plouffe, President Obama's campaign manager in the 2008 race. There's much focus this morning on Plouffe's recollection of how seriously Hillary Clinton was considered by then-Senator Obama as a potential running mate. But worth noting are the views of the man he ultimately chose, Joe Biden.

The then-Delaware Senator conceded in a meeting with Plouffe and David Axelrod last August that he initially "wasn't sure" about Obama, but had become convinced. He talked of how he would never have run for president himself if he "knew the steamroller you guys would put together" in Iowa. He also offered pros and cons for himself as the VP, at first saying the job was "the last thing I should do," but also arguing that he could "be a good soldier and could provide real value."

The least surprising thing about this meeting: Plouffe writes, "Ax and I couldn't get a word in edgewise." But ultimately, Obama's top strategists concluded that "this dog could not be taught new tricks." Obama made the choice on August 17, just after his return from a week-long vacation in Hawaii.

The full excerpt on the Biden meeting is after the jump.

The [first] meeting started with Biden launching into a nearly 20-minute monologue that ranged from the strength of our campaign in Iowa ("I literally wouldn't have run if I knew the steamroller you guys would put together"); to his evolving views of Obama ("I wasn't sure about him in the beginning of the campaign, but I am now"); why he didn't want to be VP ("The last thing I should do is VP; after 36 years of being the top dog, it will be hard to be No. 2"); why he was a good choice ("But I would be a good soldier and could provide real value, domestically and internationally"); and everything else under the sun. Ax and I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

It confirmed what we suspected: this dog could not be taught new tricks. But the conversation also confirmed our positive assumptions: his firm grasp of issues, his blue collar sensibilities and the fact that while he would readily accept the VP slot if offered, he was not pining for it.