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Home / US / Joe Biden narrows his VP list, with Karen Bass coming out as one of the many top contenders

Joe Biden narrows his VP list, with Karen Bass coming out as one of the many top contenders

In more than two dozen interviews with CNN in recent days, members of Congress, key Democratic donors, Biden allies and others close to the vice presidential verification process said Rep. California Karen Bass, the 66-year-old president of the Black Congress. , gained real traction at the late stage of the search. Amid furious last-minute lobbying and speculation over Biden’s historic decision, Senator Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, are also believed to be among the most serious contenders.

The search continues to be conducted under extreme secrecy, with many campaign advisors even in the dark about the verification process. Several additional women also underwent an extensive examination by Biden̵

7;s team, including Massachusetts Senator Warren Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Florida Dem Dem and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Others, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Gov. Michigan Gretchen Whitmer and Gov. New Mexico Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham also received several levels of scrutiny from the audit team.

The Biden team has yet to tell each of the women who have seriously considered the vice-presidential role they are officially running out of, said people familiar with the process, and one source said 11 women are still being formally considered. .

Bass’s new emergence as one of the top contenders was driven by intensive lobbying on her behalf by some of her colleagues in the House including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an influential California Democrat and a major donor. They have reached out to members of Biden’s inner circle in recent weeks, and have taken a keen note of why the conglomerate should not be ignored in the search process. Her supporters portrayed her as a universally liked and respected member of the House, an experienced team player working with Republicans and leading a state legislature, an African-American woman with a compelling biography based on humble beginnings and notably , a safe political option for those who do not swing the boat.

“I think Karen has been counted since Day One,” said Steve Westly, the former California state comptroller and major fundraiser Biden, who said he’s happy to see both Bass and Harris on the shortlist of Biden.

“Everyone likes Karen Bass. People are scratching their heads saying, who is this woman?” he said. “When you’ve been a speaker of the legislature for a state that’s 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 more b ‘stronger than people think.’

Another undoubted dynamic that has emerged in recent days: an intensive effort by some of Biden’s allies to praise Harris’s chances of being selected.

Even as Biden has publicly praised Harris in recent months, some of his supporters – both in private and in public – have continued to raise questions through the press, sometimes using sexist language, about whether Harris he was an unreliable player, often bringing Harris ’famous attack on Biden into a primary Democratic debate on the broadcast issue.

One Democratic aide with knowledge of the search process offered this flat observation: “The Biden allies are laying the groundwork for the vice president to have a reason not to choose her.”

In several media reports, Biden’s allies attacked Harris ’motivations. Florida donor John Morgan lamented that Harris “was going to run for president on the day of the inauguration. For me, loyalty and friendship must mean something,” said Chris Dodd, a member of the Biden’s travel VP, reportedly complained to a donor who showed Harris “without remorse” when asked about her famous fight with Biden on the debate stage.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. and Ed Rendell supporter, who said he currently has no favorites in the search for a mate mate, said in an interview that Bass is considered a “very safe choice” in a way that Harris simply isn’t.

“Kamala can rub some people the wrong way. Karen Bass probably doesn’t do that,” Rendell said. “The number one rule for choosing a VP? It doesn’t hurt.”

Biden clearly came out prepared to defend Harris during a press conference Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, with a photo of a notecard listing these bullet points under Harris ‘name: “M’ you don’t have to keep scans. ” “Campaign with me & Jill.” “Talented.” “Great help for the campaign.” “Great respect to her.”

Recent attacks on Harris have prompted cries of sexism.

“This is not about the shame that we are not being treated fairly, although I would argue that these women are not,” said Karen Finney, Hillary Clinton’s best campaign supporter. “We know it’s an old sleep that says you can’t trust an ambitious woman.”

Harris herself told women on the flow of the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference on Friday, “There will be resistance to your ambition, there will be people who say you’re ‘you’re out of your lane,'” addresses the attacks on its reliability and ambition for the first time this week.

“They’re loaded only by having the ability to see what has always been instead of what it could be. But it doesn’t leave that burden on you,” she said, adding that she has experienced her entire career.

The Biden campaign largely failed to publicly engage the comparative criticism against Harris until this week, when campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon responded to a report that Harris was considered by some to be too ambitious. .

“Ambitious women make history, change the world and win,” Dillon wrote on Twitter. “Our campaign is full of ambitious women who are all going to Joe Biden. He will make this decision, and this is clear: whoever chooses from the highly qualified options to help her win and unite the country, she too will be one. “

One of the reasons Harris has been under fire is that he has long been considered a favorite to be Biden’s leadership. Her supporters point out that she has already been verified on the national stage as a presidential candidate and is unlikely to surprise the campaign with any last-minute acquaintances. While her 2020 campaign ended well before the Iowa lawsuits, supporters of Harris claim that she gained after she was loyal while working for the White House, and that she would make history as the first Black and Asian vice-presidential candidate of the country.

Meanwhile, Ross ’emergence as a serious competitor surprised some in Biden’s world, due to her limited experience in the countryside. But her close allies point to the credentials that govern her from her time in the executive branch and the deep background of her foreign policy in a time of global turmoil. They also say that Biden’s long-standing working relationship with Ross is not underestimated, particularly because of how he stressed that he wants a partner who is “sympathetic to me.”

“If ever there was a time to pick someone with no campaign experience, this would be the year,” a cabinet member from the Obama administration, who knows Ross well, told CNN. “Susan would be the best governing partner.”

With the time of intensive verification now coming to an end, the final decision is left to Biden and his wife, Jill, who emerged as one of his closest advisers in the process. She organized virtual campaign events with almost all potential candidates, but did not participate in any interviews conducted by the search committee, according to people with knowledge of the process. The Biden campaign has also begun building the squad that will run the future vice-presidential pick, a source close to the campaign said, but has no details on who will be involved.

When Biden told reporters earlier this week that he would choose a friend in the first week of August, two assistants told CNN that the announcement time was more likely to be pushed back to the week of August. August 10. But Biden’s advisers gave him a deadline next week to open his mind, said a person familiar with the process.

Biden enters the final round of deliberations as the country has faced an ugly public health crisis and economic recession. President Donald Trump’s approval rating has taken a serious hit on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic – a reality that close allies say they should offer Biden the room to choose a leading fish without weighing as much as possible in each political electoral cycle Electoral advantages that the specific leadership can offer.

“They don’t have to swing to fences; they don’t have to be a distraction. They don’t have to go with someone who isn’t tested or someone who improves or at random,” one Biden supporter nearby. touch the inner ring said.

“If he’s decided, he hasn’t told anyone,” Biden’s longtime friend told CNN. “But they know him, he won’t make a final decision until the very last moment.”

This story was updated with comments Kamala Harris made on Friday.

CNN’s Arlette Saenz and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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