President Barack Obama's closest political adviser, David Axelrod, would not rule out dropping Vice President Joe Biden from this year's presidential ticket when asked about the rumors this morning on MSNBC.

"All right. David, it's Sam Stein," said the Huffington Post writer to Axelrod. "I''m guessing you're not taking John McCain's advice to drop him and put Hillary Clinton? But a more serious question --"

"Far be it from me to denigrate Senator McCain's advice on vice presidential nominees," Axelrod joked, making a reference to McCain picking Sarah Palin for the Republican ticket in 2008.

Nevertheless, Axelrod did not rule out the suggestion, and did not definitively state President Obama's position on the issue.

Before that, however, Axelrod did have praise for Biden.

"Listen, I have a great affection and respect for Joe Biden," Axelrod said, according to a rush transcript. "I think he's been a great vice president. He's taken on a lot of tough assignments for our administration. ... from administering the recovery act -- and he did it very, very well -- through being the point person on the Iraq war and getting our troops home and doing that -- the politics of that over there. he's done a great job for us."

Hmm. The praise is strong. Maybe even too strong.

If Obama were to drop Biden, one would expect the switch to be on the kindest possible terms. Might this effusive praise be part of a grand strategy to prepare the groundwork for dropping Biden?

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