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Home / US / Joe Biden narrows down the VP list, with Karen Bass appearing as one of several key contenders

Joe Biden narrows down the VP list, with Karen Bass appearing as one of several key contenders

Congress members, top Democratic donors, Biden’s allies, and others close to the vice presidential review process said in more than two dozen talks with CNN that the 66-year-old president of the Black Congress Congress, the Rep. , gained real traction in the late stages of the search. Amid fierce last-minute lobbying and speculation about Biden’s historic decision, California Senator Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, former national security adviser Barack Obama, are also considered the most serious candidates.

The search continues to be conducted in extreme secrecy, and even many top campaign advisors are in the dark about the review process. Several other women also underwent an extensive examination by the Biden team, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Florida Rep Val Demings and Illinois Senate Tammy Duckworth. Others, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Michigan Gov, Gretchen Whitmer and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, also received various levels of control from the control team.


7;s team has yet to tell any of the women who have seriously considered vice president to be officially out of service, people familiar with the process have said, with one source, that 11 women are still formally considered.

Bass’s new rise as one of the best candidates was driven by intense lobbying for her by some of her house colleagues, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, influential California Democrats and top donors. In recent weeks, they have addressed members of Biden’s inner circle, and have been a passionate case of why a congressist should not be overlooked at a congress. Her supporters painted her as a universally popular and respected member of the House, a team player with experience working with Republicans and leading state legislation, an African-American with a compelling biography rooted in humble beginnings, and above all a safe political choice that would not slip a ship.

“I think Karen has been counted since day one,” said Steve Westly, a former California state controller and chief fundraiser Biden, who said he was glad to see both Bass and Harris on Bidin’s shortlist.

“Everyone likes Karen Bass. People scratch their heads and say, Who is this woman?” he said. “When you talk about the state legislature, which is twice the population of New York and the world’s fifth largest economy, you know how to manage the media, you understand the economy. I think it’s stronger than people think. “

Another unmistakable dynamic that has emerged in recent days: the intense efforts of some of the Biden’s allies to launch a Harris selection torpedo.

Although Biden has publicly praised Harris in recent months, some of his supporters – whether in private or public – have continued to press, sometimes using sexist language, and continue to question whether Harris would be a credible team player, which he often brings. highlight Harris’s famous attack on Biden in the Democratic primary debate on the issue of bus.

One Democratic assistant with knowledge of the search process offered this blunt observation: “The Biden allies will lay the groundwork for the vice president to have a reason not to choose her.”

In several media reports, the Biden allies linked Harris’s motives. Florida’s donor, John Morgan, regretted that Harris “will run for president on the day of the inauguration. Loyalty and friendship should mean something to me. “” Chris Dodd, a member of Biden’s VP review team, reportedly complained to a donor who showed Harris. “No remorse,” when asked about her famous conflict with Biden at the debate stage. .

Former Pennsylvania supporter and Biden Ed Rendell, who said he did not currently have a favorite when looking for a running partner, said in an interview that Bass was seen as a “very safe choice” in a way that Harris simply was not,

“Kamala may rub some people badly. Karen Bass probably won’t do it, “Rendell said. “Rule number one for choosing a vice president? Do not hurt. “

Biden clearly came ready to defend Harris at a news conference Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, with a photo of a note that reads these points under the name Harris: “Don’t hold a grudge.” “Campaign with me and Jill.” “Talented.” “Great help with the campaign.” “Great respect for her.”

Recent attacks on Harris have provoked cries of sexism.

“It’s not a whining that we’re not being treated fairly, although I’d say these women aren’t,” said Karen Finney, Hillary Clinton’s senior assistant campaigner in 2016. “We know it’s an old trick that says you can’t trust an ambitious woman. “

Harris herself told women in the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference stream on Friday: “There will be resistance to your ambitions, there will be people who tell you you’re out of the way,” addressing attacks on her credibility and ambitions for the first time this week.

“They are burdened only by the ability to see what has always been, instead of what can be. But don’t get burdened with it, “she said, adding that she had lived her entire career.

The Biden campaign largely refused to engage publicly in criticism of Harris until this week, when campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon responded to a report that some considered Harris too ambitious.

“Ambitious women make history, change the world and win,” Dillon wrote on Twitter. “Our campaign is full of ambitious women who follow Joe Biden. He will make this decision, and it is clear: whoever chooses the highly qualified options that will help him win and unite the country will also be one of them. “

One of the reasons Harris was under fire is the fact that she has long been considered a favorite of Biden’s running friend. Her supporters point out that she has already been screened on the national stage as a candidate for the presidency, and it is unlikely that the campaign will surprise her with unknown last-minute data. While her 2020 campaign ended long before scouts in Iowa, Harris supporters say she gained loyalty after running for the White House and would make history the first black-Asian vice president.

Meanwhile, Rice’s discovery as a serious candidate in the Biden world was surprised by her limited campaign experience. However, her close allies point to her government credentials from her time in the executive and from her deep foreign policy background in times of global unrest. They also argue that Biden’s long-standing working relationship with Rice must not be underestimated, especially given the fact that he emphasized that he wanted a partner who was “sympathetic” to me.

“If there was ever a choice of someone with no campaign experience, it would be a year,” said a member of the Obama administration’s cabinet, who knows Rice well. “Susan would be the best ruler.”

As the month of intense scrutiny approaches, the final decision is left to Biden and his wife, Jill, who has become one of his closest advisers in the process. She organized virtual campaigns with almost all potential candidates, but did not take part in any interviews conducted by the search committee, according to people with knowledge of the process. The Biden campaign has also begun to build a team to serve the next vice presidential election, a source close to the campaign said, but did not provide details of who would be involved.

When Biden told reporters earlier this week that he would choose a regular partner in the first week of August, two assistants told CNN that the timing of the announcement was likely to be shifted back to the week of August 10. However, Biden’s advisers gave him a deadline next week to make a decision, said a man familiar with the process.

Biden is entering the final stages of negotiations, when the country is facing a terrible public health crisis and economic recession. President Donald Trump’s approval assessment has seriously affected his management of the coronavirus pandemic – a fact that close allies are talking about should offer Biden room to choose a running partner without considering as much political and electoral benefits as he can offer in any other election cycle. running partner.

“They don’t have to move behind fences; they don’t need that distraction. They don’t need to go with someone who has not been tested, or with someone who is flashy or random, ”a close one of Biden’s followers touched his inner circle, he said.

“If he made a decision, he didn’t tell anyone,” Biden’s longtime friend Biden told CNN. “But when she knows him, she won’t make a final decision at the last minute.”

This story was updated with comments by Kamala Harris from Friday.

Arlette Saenz and Annie Grayer CNN contributed to this report.

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