Ex-party chief considered replacing Clinton with Biden

Presidential candidate's collapse at public event prompted idea, new book reveals

Ms Donna Brazile (left) wrote in her book that Mrs Hillary Clinton's campaign was mismanaged, "anaemic" and had "the odour of failure".
Ms Donna Brazile (left) wrote in her book that Mrs Hillary Clinton's campaign was mismanaged, "anaemic" and had "the odour of failure".

WASHINGTON • The former Democratic Party chief seriously considered replacing Mrs Hillary Clinton with then US Vice-President Joe Biden as the party's White House candidate after Mrs Clinton fell ill at a public event, according to excerpts from a new memoir.

Ms Donna Brazile also wrote that Mrs Clinton's campaign was badly mismanaged, "anaemic" and had taken on "the odour of failure".

She likened the campaign's New York headquarters to a hospital ward where "someone had died".

The Washington Post published the details after obtaining an advance copy of her book - Hacks: The Inside Story Of The Break-ins And Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump In The White House - that will be released tomorrow.

Ms Brazile, 57, is a long-time Democratic strategist who served as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) interim chairman during the key months of last year's presidential campaign.

She writes in the book of her frequent frustrations with the Clinton campaign, saying she would tell its leaders that she could invoke powers from the DNC Charter to oversee the process of replacing a nominee if Mrs Clinton were to become disabled, something that has never happened in the modern era of presidential elections.

The Post quoted Ms Brazile as writing, "Again and again I thought about Joe Biden", adding that "no matter my doubts and my fears about the election and Hillary as a candidate, I could not make good on that threat to replace her".

The paper reported that Ms Brazile had considered replacing Mrs Clinton after she briefly collapsed in New York City following a Sept 11 commemoration ceremony.


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But the rules do not give that power solely to the chairman of the party. That decision is ultimately made by the DNC after consultation with Democratic leaders in Congress and Democratic governors.

Those who worked on the Clinton campaign sharply criticised Ms Brazile, questioning both the accuracy of her assertions and the motive behind them.

"Her depiction of Brooklyn as an antiseptic, soulless operation is completely divorced from reality, and I question why she would be presenting such a misportrayal," said Mrs Clinton's campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, referring to the campaign's headquarters.

He also said Ms Brazile vastly overstated her ability to unilaterally change the party nominee.

"It's head-scratching to think that she would have entertained undermining the democratic process," Mr Fallon said.

On Saturday evening, a group of almost 100 Clinton campaign staff echoed his sentiments.

"We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees," the statement said.

"It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fuelled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate's health."

Ms Brazile's assertions shed new light on frictions within the Democratic Party, and revive lingering tensions between more mainstream Democrats and the more liberal supporters of Mrs Clinton's principal challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Ms Brazile, according to The Post, got in heated disagreements with top Clinton campaign officials and accused them of treating her like a "slave".

She took over the leadership of the DNC in July last year.

Ms Brazile is a veteran of many presidential campaigns, serving as chairman of Mr Al Gore's in 2000.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-party chief considered replacing Clinton with Biden'. Subscribe