According to Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe, yes. According to Edwards campaign senior adviser Joe Trippi, no (or at least he didn't know about it.)
TPM's Chrinstina Bellantoni reported last night that, in his new book "Audacity to Win," Plouffe writes that a "senior Edwards adviser" called before the South Carolina primary to suggest that the two announce they were joining forces--with Edwards dropping out and becoming Obama's VP nominee--to effectively thwart Hillary Clinton. (Presumably, this wouldn't have happened without John Edwards himself having been part of the conversation.) Here's Plouffe, via TPM:
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."
Trippi, however, more or less refutes this in an email to The Plum Line's Greg Sargent, saying Edwards wasn't interested in the VP job and thought he could do more as attorney general:
"Edwards was pretty clear to me that VP didn't appeal to him and that he was more interested and thought he could do more as AG," Trippi emailed.
Trippi also contested the assertion that the Edwards camp thought Hillary would win South Carolina and go on to victory, arguing that "it was clear that Obama was going to crush everyone in South Carolina and then run a series of victories."
A curious case. If nothing else, an Obama/Edwards power ticket would indeed have shaken things up, as the "senior Edwards adviser" reportedly said. No one can doubt that.
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