Biden Probably Won't Be Clinton's Veep

by Joseph D. Lyons

America's favorite vice president in at least 16 years — I'm not seeing many Dick Cheney fans in the house? — seems to have finally warmed to Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. Joe Biden didn't explicitly endorse Clinton, but in an interview on Good Morning America Wednesday, the vice president said that he sees her moving into the White House next year. "I feel confident that Hillary will be the nominee," he told Robin Roberts. Now that he's on board, could Joe Biden be Hillary Clinton's vice president?

Technically, he could. There are no term limits for vice presidents. The 22nd Amendment specifically addresses the post of the presidency. A VP has never served more than two terms, but there's no reason one couldn't, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Fact Check project. Interestingly, Biden is only the ninth vice president to serve two terms. But in any case, yes, technically he could serve again.

But would Clinton want him there? And would Biden want the position? The Wall Street Journal covered their occasionally strained relationship in March. They aren't personally close, and Biden has privately expressed concerns about the Clintons profiting from public service (by taking speaking fees, for example). There's also tension around the fact that Biden probably would like to run for president himself, though the death of his son led him to sit 2016 out. He has told friends that he felt pressured by Clinton supporters not to run — which might make playing second fiddle rather difficult to chew.


Plus, there's their time together in the Obama administration. At one point, Clinton's name was put forward to replace Biden's on the ticket in a poll before the 2012 election, furthering speculation that Obama was considering just that and angering Biden. Plus, the two reportedly butted heads on a number of issues — Libya being one. Clinton wanted to engage in the airstrikes which led to the death of Moammar Gadhafi, while Biden thought this could create a power vacuum in the country.

Over the primary season, there have been ups and downs. In January, Biden made comments about Clinton being relatively new to the income inequality issue, which did not go over well with her campaign. Lately, however, things have been on an upswing. Last month, Biden said he "would like to see a woman elected" in a Mic interview, after the brouhaha between Sanders and Clinton over who was qualified to be president.

Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The main reason Biden won't serve, though, is that Clinton is looking at other candidates. He's very popular with Democrats, but she wants someone who can convince Democrats and independents to support her. Even so, his name did not make the shortlist released by The New York Times, which includes candidates who are more likely to help her win the Obama coalition again, or win specific states like Ohio.

However, that doesn't mean that Biden won't serve an important role in both her campaign and after the event of her election. He's likely to be a surrogate for her in swing states with large white, working-class populations like West Virginia, where she just lost to Sanders. Biden has a very relatable story, coming from Scranton, Pennsylvania. She also has hinted there will be some sort of appointment for him once she wins the White House. "History isn’t finished with Joe Biden," Clinton said after Biden announced he wouldn't run. Rumors from one of Biden's friends point to a sort of roving ambassadorship, which would be great news. Who doesn't want more Biden?