Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) — When does “no” not really mean no? When politicians say it. Reporters understand that if the circumstances are right, the answer can always change.
On Thursday, NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the rumor du jour, that President Barack Obama might ask Clinton to swap jobs with Vice President Joe Biden. Clinton said, “I do not think it’s even in the realm of possibility and in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done an amazingly good job.”
Of course that won’t end speculation about a Great Switcheroo, and not just because it falls short of “Shermanesque,” the standard General William Tecumseh Sherman set in 1884 when he said, “I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected.”
When Bob Woodward first claimed on CNN in late 2010 that such a switch was “on the table,” I was skeptical. In a profile of Clinton I wrote for Vanity Fair this year, I doubted her denials about running for president in 2016, but thought that a switch with Biden was outlandish.
Then I heard from an old Chicago friend of Obama’s that Woodward was right. Now, with the economy worse and the president as the self-described underdog, I’d say the odds are long — but it’s definitely not impossible.