Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) was a finalist to be President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaOvernight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Perez: Trump climate order helps ‘the worst polluters’ MORE’s vice presidential nominee alongside Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Biden: I regret not being president Biden: 'McCain is right: Need select committee' for Russia 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 KaineGOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Trump supporters call for Kaine's son and other protesters to be prosecuted Senators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal 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 ClintonTrump seeks to stop lawsuit from ‘Apprentice’ contestant Trump asks why Clintons' ties to Russia aren't under investigation Playing hot potato and musical chairs with healthcare MORE would play a distracting role, according to the book.
Sen. John McCainJohn McCainNunes endures another rough day GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership 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.