Yes, these sort of rumors tend to surface during presidential reelection campaigns, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always unfounded. After all, President George W. Bush recently admitted he considered replacing Vice President Cheney after his first term, which substantiated the whispers swirling in 2004.
Anyway, back in April, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown predicted President Obama would dump Vice President Biden and replace him with New York Governor and rising Democratic Party star Andrew Cuomo. Now add former New York GOP Chair William Powers to the list of Obama-Cuomo 2012 forecasters:
“Andrew had a fabulous session. It was fabulous. A property-tax cap, ethics reform and, for Democrats, gay marriage,” Powers told the New York Post’s Fredric U. Dicker.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt Obama is going to pick him as his running mate. The president is in trouble and [Vice President Joseph] Biden doesn’t bring anything to his ticket.”
“The president will call him up later this year and say, ‘Andrew, you have to do this for the good of the country.’ What’s Andrew going to say, ‘No?’ “
Biden was tapped in 2008 partly because the Obama team thought he would bring experience and a foreign policy background to the ticket. Now that the reelection campaign needs economic smarts, is a budget-cutting Democrat like Cuomo starting to look like a more appealing choice?
It’s possible, but it seems highly, highly unlikely. First of all, Obama placed Biden in charge of the congressional deficit commission, a responsibility he probably wouldn’t give to somebody he was trying to nudge out the door. And for all of Biden’s gaffes, he and Obama seem to have maintained a good rapport. Why would the campaign drop him for Cuomo, who is largely untested nationally, and isn’t even a year into his first term as governor?
But all this speculation about Cuomo might illustrate a wistfulness in the Democratic Party for more fiscal hawkishness from the White House. Obama would be better off trying to capture that by being more open to serious spending reductions and continued tax breaks than by considering a running-mate replacement.