Washington, Sept.25 : An Internet rumor is surging through inboxes and discussion boards that Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden will drop out as Barack Obama's running mate after his October 2 debate with Republican rival Sarah Palin.
The rumour further goes on to say that Hillary Clinton will replace Biden on the Democratic presidential ticket.
The story line is that with John McCain settling in on Palin as his running mate, Obama has had to think of doing something radical to regain momentum. So in the days after the vice presidential candidates debate in Missouri, Biden will bow out, citing "health problems" (Biden underwent surgery in 1988 to repair two brain aneurysms). Enter Clinton.
Furthermore, the story goes, any damage that Biden does during the debate will be erased by his abrupt exit.
The Obama campaign has not commented on it, other than to say that Biden's medical records will be released soon.
Biden has caused a few hiccups for the Obama campaign. On Monday, he had to issue a clarification after he called one of his own campaign ads "terrible" in an interview with CBS News.
He also faced a rebuke from Obama after he spoke out against the government bailout of American International Group last week before Obama was ready to take a position.
On Tuesday, he said that President Franklin Roosevelt had gone on television in 1929 to discuss the Wall Street crash (Herbert Hoover was president in 1929 and the TV hadn't been invented yet).
At one point, he even said Hillary Clinton might have been a better pick for Obama's No. 2.
The Republican National Committee has gleefully set up a Biden "gaffe clock" to monitor his rhetorical flubs on the campaign trail.
Nonetheless, Democratic supporters dismiss outright any speculation that he might be dropped from the ticket.It's crazy. ... It's just not gonna happen," Democratic strategist Bob Beckel said.
Dropping Biden from the ticket would be a throwback to George McGovern's shocker in 1972, when he replaced running mate Thomas Eagleton after it was learned that Eagleton had undergone electro-shock therapy for depression.
McGovern lost to President Nixon in a landslide, suggesting that seventh-inning lineup changes are not the best strategy for presidential candidates who want to shake things up.