2011 is just a few days old and the 2012 election rumor mill has already kicked into high gear. Beyond the usual speculation surrounding Sarah Palin, Beltway gossips have been talking up Jon Huntsman, President Obama's ambassador to China, as his strongest potential GOP rival next year. But the Obama ticket itself isn't immune from the scuttlebutt: A Florida blogger is predicting Obama will ditch his current vice president, Joe Biden, for outgoing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent. Is this worth taking seriously?
Short answer — No: The notion that a president will switch his vice president midstream is "one of the sillier games" pundits play halfway through every president's first term, says Steven L. Taylor in Outside the Beltway. And despite persistent speculation, recent presidents never have. Besides, "people simply don't vote based on who the veep candidate is." Bottom line: Biden's job is as safe as Obama's.
"Silly veep speculation of the day"
Crist could seal Obama's re-election: Obama would do well to consider ditching Biden for "someone with less of a propensity for gaffes," says Javier Manjarres in The Shark Tank, "as well as for a younger and more 'moderate' candidate" who could win back "disenfranchised" independents and conservative Democrats. Crist fits the bill. Yes, he lost Florida's Senate race to Marco Rubio (R), but he still has "a remarkable 50 percent approval rating" in a swing state Obama needs to win.
"Is Charlie Crist a potential VP Pick... for Obama?"
Crist would be a liability, not an asset: Crist, a "recent party-flipper," also quickly flip-flopped on a host of issues, says Jim Geraghty in National Review. No, Obama will keep Biden or choose another "lifelong Democrat," leaving the perpetually tanned Crist in Florida, along with any hopes that "America's first black president could pick the country's first orange vice president" in the realm of "wildly implausible but entertaining" could-have-beens.
"In this unlikely scenario, the GOP nominee should run with Rubio"