Book: Edwards offered to endorse Obama if picked as VP
In his new book, “The Audacity to Win,” Obama campaign manager Dan Plouffe alleges that a senior adviser to then-Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards offered to endorse then-Sen. Barack Obama if he selected him as his running mate.
The excerpt was reprinted on Talking Points Memo.
Edwards’ political career screeched to a dead halt following his failed presidential bid after revelations that he had engaged in an affair with a paid videographer and seemingly got another aide to purport to be the father of the woman’s child.
Parts of the excerpt follow; the excerpt can be read here.
Publicly his team insisted they could resuscitate his campaign in South Carolina. But privately, it soon became clear they knew otherwise, and some time after the debate, I got a call from a senior Edwards adviser.
This was the pitch:
“Listen. It’s clear unless the race is shaken up, Hillary is going to win. You guys might not even win South Carolina. What would shake the race up is John ending his campaign, but not simply to endorse another candidate. All things being equal, John prefers Barack. They should announce they are joining forces and will run as a ticket. Edwards can vouch for Obama with blue-collar and Southern whites and is running on a change message.
“It’s a perfect fit. And it has to be something that big to slow down Hillary. You need a big shakeup in the race and this could be it.”
I listened intently and replied that obviously this was something I would need to discuss with my boss. “Am I authorized to raise this offer with him?” I asked.
“Yes,” came the reply. But then right at the end of the conversation, the Edwards rep added a new wrinkle: “Just to be clear, we’re going to talk to the Clinton people too. That’s not where John’s heart is, but he is at a point of maximum leverage now. We want to see what each of you is thinking…”
…Obama’s answer was quick and firm: he would cut no deals. If he won, he did not want to be locked in to any personnel matters, and he had little interest in deciding on a vice presidential pick in the heat of the primary campaign.
We decided he would talk to Edwards personally and make clear there could be no promises. During that conversation, Obama reiterated that we wanted John’s support and thought it would make a difference, and clearly there could be a potential role for him down the line.
…I don’t know if Edwards sanctioned these diplomacy missions or the level of specificity and brazenness that was presented to us.The Edwards saga petered out after that … Eventually he endorsed us; it came at an important time, and we were grateful to have his support.”