By Reid Wilson - 10/29/09 02:34 PM EDT
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) was a finalist to be President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaDems celebrate anniversary of gay marriage ruling Cannabis conversation urged at North American Leaders Summit Obama: 'There's still work to do' for gay community MORE’s vice presidential nominee alongside Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: US 'preferred a different outcome' on Brexit Abortion is weakness for Clinton VP favorite Overnight Defense: Biden hits Trump on national security | Dems raise pressure over refugees | Graham vows fight over spending caps MORE, according to a new book.
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s book, excerpted in Time magazine, reveals he and senior strategist David Axelrod met with Biden, Bayh and Virginia Gov. Tim KaineTim KaineRNC strategizes against Clinton VP contenders Dems celebrate anniversary of gay marriage ruling Kaine: Trump thinks 'it's always got to be about him' MORE (D), the three finalists for the job.
“Bayh’s answers to our questions were substantively close to perfect, if cautiously so,” Plouffe writes. Kaine acknowledged that he was likely on the bottom of the list, and he told Plouffe and Axelrod he would have no hard feelings if he weren't picked.
Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was a serious contender, though Obama eventually dropped her out of concern that former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonPoll: Voters divided on role of government in gun control Trump details '50 facts' attacking Clinton Clinton slams Trump on immigration in Arizona op-ed MORE would play a distracting role, according to the book.
Sen. John McCainJohn McCainJuan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump Marines reignite debate on women in combat Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA MORE's (R-Ariz.) selection of then-Gov. Sarah Palin (R) as his running mate was as much of a surprise to the Obama campaign as it was to anyone else. Plouffe writes that he did not even have a research file on the Alaska governor, and that he resorted to Google as he waited for the campaign's research division to work one up.
“Her story was original: small-town mayor takes on the establishment and wins a governor’s race; she was an avid hunter, sportswoman and athlete, and her husband was a champion snowmobiler; she had just given birth to a child with Down syndrome. A profile out of a novel, I thought.”
Still, selecting such an inexperienced politician “completely undermined” McCain's main argument that Obama was not ready to be president, in Plouffe’s view. The seeming hypocrisy, Plouffe writes, caused the campaign to take a much more aggressive tone toward Palin than it would have toward other potential vice presidential nominees.
Plouffe writes that he counseled his candidate against giving a speech on race, but Obama insisted, especially in light of the fallout from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor. Obama told his two senior strategists he had been thinking about the speech “for almost 30 years.”
Plouffe's look back at the race, “The Audacity to Win,” is due out Nov. 3, about a year after Obama won the presidency.