While the COVID-19 lockdown debate rages over Memorial Day weekend, several prominent Democratic women are getting attention from former vice president Joe Biden. No, not that kind of attention. Names like Klobuchar, Abrams, and Demings, to name a few, are being tossed around as potential vice presidential picks for Biden.
Reports now indicate that several of these names have gone beyond the theoretical stage and are currently undergoing a vetting process to weed out any potential skeletons and pitfalls lurking in their background that could prove problematic down the road.
One name that is somewhat surprising to see on the list is Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She’s accomplished as a Senator and generally did well during the Democratic debates.
On paper Klobuchar could be a great pick:
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, has been asked by Joe Biden to undergo a formal vetting to be considered as his vice presidential running mate, one of several potential contenders now being scrutinized by his aides ahead of a final decision, according to people familiar with the moves.
The request for information from potential running mates like Klobuchar “is underway,” a senior Biden campaign aide tells CBS News. If a potential contender consents, she should be poised to undergo a rigorous multi-week review of her public and private life and work by a hand-picked group of Biden confidantes, who will review tax returns, public speeches, voting records, past personal relationships and potentially scandalous details from her past.
Klobuchar is, well, a fine choice, but there’s just one problem. She’s white.
Biden is under immense pressure — immense — to select a woman of color as his vice president. Whether that woman’s name is Abrams or Harris, or someone else, the push from progressives is coming out loud and clear.
Stacey Abrams all-but personally threatened Biden to name a woman of color on his ticket or risk alienating a huge base of the Democratic Party:
In an interview on ABC’s “The View,” host Sunny Hostin asked Abrams, the former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee, if Biden not picking a woman of color would amount to “a slap in the face” to black voters who made up the backbone of his primary support and were critical to his come-from-behind victory in the primary.
Abrams isn’t hiding her ambition, and we reported that early in 2019, as Biden’s campaign was getting underway, the two met in Georgia. At the time, it was speculated that Biden might be preparing to announce his candidacy as a full ticket, with Abrams as VP, a move intended to excite the Democratic base. Nothing ever materialized, but we know the conversations took place.
Another name being vetted, along with Klobuchar, and likely Abrams, is Florida Rep. Val Demings, according to NBC News:
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., has formally begun interviewing with the Biden campaign for the vice presidential nomination and that the vetting process is underway, a source with direct knowledge told NBC News Thursday.
“We’re definitely on a list,” the source said.
Demings, D-Fla., in an interview with SiriusXM’s “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” said Wednesday night she was on “the shortlist” to be Biden’s vice presidential nominee, saying that she’d accept the job if offered.
“If Vice President Biden asked me to serve along with him, I would be honored to do just that,” she said.
Demmings created a national presence with Democrats during the House impeachment trial against President Trump. Beyond that, she’s not too widely known to the general public.
Most politicians leap at the chance to be considered for a national ticket, but there is at least one name that will not be on the list:
Earlier Thursday, NBC News reported that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., had declined a request from Biden’s presidential campaign to be vetted as a potential running mate.
The Biden team’s interest in Shaheen was first reported by Manchester, N.H., ABC affiliate WMUR.
Sen. Shaheen took herself out of contention to be considered, citing her love of serving in the U.S. Senate for the people of New Hampshire. Shaheen is running for a third term in 2020 and would likely be forced to choose between running as VP and her Senate seat. Some have speculated that Shaheen could fear President Trump will be much more difficult to defeat than many Democrats expect, and her current post in the Senate offers better job security.
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassen, Shaheen’s colleague, has agreed to be vetted for the post so a Granite Stater might still end up on the national ticket.
Another name often tossed around is California Sen. Kamala Harris. Some have noted that Harris is being very quiet right now and doesn’t seem to be jumping at the chance to join Biden, according to the New York Times:
In several interviews, Ms. Harris has said she would be “honored” to serve with Mr. Biden, but there is no public campaign similar to that carried out by Stacey Abrams, the former candidate for governor in Georgia. There is no surrogate lobbying effort like the one for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, which includes direct polling presentations. Instead, even people close to Mr. Biden — often bombarded with pleas from those vying to be his running mate — have remarked about how little they have heard from Ms. Harris and her allies.
Allies of Ms. Harris said she was taking the conventional, low-key route to being considered for vice president, rather than appearing to deliberately audition, with the hope that this approach more closely suits a traditionalist like Mr. Biden.
Harris is either taking the low-key route, or she’s low-key signaling that she doesn’t want the job. As the campaign started in 2019, a Biden-Harris ticket was seen as a good match. Then the debates started, where Harris battered Biden over his lack of support for bussing to segregated schools in the 1970s. The attack seemed out of leftfield, and it hurt Biden in the short term but seemed to destroy Harris for the long term.
Biden and his team have a difficult decision to make. Do they choose style or experience, or keep looking for a combination of both. Stacey Abrams is strong on appeal to the base, but short on actual legislative or executive experience. Klobuchar has years of experience in the Senate under her belt but doesn’t move the needle for progressives with her moderate views on Medicare For All.
A decision will likely come fairly soon, with a ticket rolled out sometime in June to start a push toward the convention which has been moved to later in the summer out of concern for Covid-19.