WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said Thursday that he would never have ditched Joe Biden, following reports his 2012 re-election campaign bosses considered dropping the vice president for Hillary Clinton.
"Here's the one thing I can say for certain, if they had asked me, I would have said there is no way that I'm not running again with Joe Biden," Obama told NBC News.
"I genuinely believe that he has been one of the best vice presidents in our history.
"He also happens to be a friend. He also happens to be one of my most important advisers on domestic (and) foreign policy. I like him. When my back's up against the wall, he has my back," the president continued.
"What I told him - and he knows and he believes me is... I would not be here if it weren't for the support that I've had from Joe Biden.
"He is a personal friend and adviser. It's one of the best decisions that I've ever made was selecting him as vice president. I couldn't be prouder of the job that he's done."
The flurry of reports about Biden came with the publication of "Double Down," an account of the roller coaster 2012 campaign by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
The book said Obama's campaign chieftains ran polls in 2011 to see whether secretary of state Clinton would boost Obama's then flagging political fortunes on the ticket.
The book reported that the idea was abandoned when staffers found that it would not "materially improve" Obama's chances.