Plouffe: Edwards camp wanted to deal for veep slot

President Obama's former campaign manager reveals another bombshell from 2008

Published November 17, 2009 12:10AM (EST)

David Plouffe, President Obama's former campaign manager, is just full of revelations -- or at least his new book, "The Audacity to Win," is.

The latest has to do with a little bit of backroom wheeling and dealing that hadn't been disclosed before now. It seems that, during the Democratic primaries, former Sen. John Edwards' campaign decided he couldn't win the nomination earlier than they acknowledged that fact publicly -- and once they had, one aide went to the Obama campaign with an offer.

TPMDC noted Monday that in his book Plouffe writes:

[S]ome 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."

Obviously, this didn't happen. And though it's unclear whether Edwards knew about the offer, it's clear in hindsight that he's lucky the Obama camp didn't go for it. As things stand now, the disclosure of Edwards' affair has all but driven him out of politics, but not necessarily closed off the possibility of a comeback. If the former senator had been a vice-presidential nominee for a second time, and the affair had become public during the campaign, potentially dooming Obama's chances, Democrats might have been angry enough to give up on him permanently.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Barack Obama John Edwards War Room