Axelrod details poll about VP switch

David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, said on Sunday that the president's reelection campaign put a question in a poll about replacing Vice President Biden with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 — but he maintained the campaign never did a focus group or dove deeply into it. 

Axelrod expanded on reports made in the forthcoming book, Double Down, which first reported the potential switch. The White House acknowledged that the campaign tested the possibility, but Obama never considered it.  

“I was there. I’ll tell you exactly what happened,” Axelrod said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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“That was the buzz in the political community in the fall of 2011. It was raised that we should take a look and see if that really makes a difference. There was no big — there were no focus groups, there were no big project.” 

He continued, “We put a question in a poll where we split the poll and we tested the Obama-Biden ticket and the Obama-Clinton ticket against the presumed Republican ticket. And what we found was what people always find when they test these things, which is the effect was [minimal]. People do not vote for vice presidents, they vote for president.”

Axelrod said it would have been disastrous to swap out Biden and it would have been perceived as disloyal. He said that was the position of everyone in the campaign at the time. 

“We tested everything and that was our job,” he said. 

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