That didn't take long. Exactly five minutes before Obama's official text message went out this morning, Howard Fineman had an article up at Newsweek praising the process by which Obama picked his running mate. He even turned lemons into lemonade, claiming Hillary really didn't want to be considered and that Obama "did her a favor" by not doing so. R-i-g-h-h-t.
First, the praise:
The minute-by-minute story of how Obama handled the selection is interesting, and revealing of the way the Democratic nominee works. He insisted on the utmost secrecy; he paid the losers the courtesy of essentially telling them "no" to their faces--not an easy thing to do. And he swallowed his considerable pride and all but confessed his lack of knowledge of foreign affairs by selecting as his running mate the Senate's senior Democratic leader on that topic.
But then came the challenge for Fineman: finessing Obama's brush-off of Hillary—in which it was reported that he had never paid her the courtesy of considering her—into a plus. The Newsweek correspondent managed to square the circle [emphasis added]:
Even his much-criticized failure to "vet" Sen. Hillary Clinton means less than meets the eye. I talked two months ago to one of her closest legal advisors, who told me that she didn't really WANT to be considered for the number two job--in no small measure because the process would have required Obama's lawyers to comb through her husband's foundation and its murky sources of income.
In that sense, Obama did her a favor by not really demanding to consider her. She would have had to say "no."
So Fineman claims Hillary never wanted to be considered for the VP slot. And his evidence: a stale comment from an unnamed source who is a "legal advisor," presumably not even a member of the senior campaign staff. Note that the comment was made "two months ago." That would have been in June, the month that Hillary finally conceded defeat in the primary. What she might have said or thought in the immediate aftermath of defeat could well have changed in the months since. And indeed there were numerous reports that her team was pressuring Obama to put her on the ticket.
And what of the notion that Obama did Hillary a favor because the vetting process would have required an inquiry into the funding sources for Bill's foundation? Is Fineman's theory that being considered for VP would have required delving into that issue, but that if Hillary had actually won the presidential nomination, she would have been able to keep that information secret? It just doesn't wash.
Would Hillary really have said "no" the VP nomination, or was this Fineman's contribution to healing an open wound in Dem ranks?