Biden team denies 'pre-cooked plan' of Abrams as early running-mate pick

A spokesman for former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris 2020 Dems ratchet up anti-corporate talk in bid to woo unions Resurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' MORE denied on Friday that the prospective presidential contender has a "pro-cooked" plan to pick Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as his running mate early in the primary.

“@JoeBiden has an enormous amount of respect for @staceyabrams (it is why he endorsed her!) — but these rumors about discussions on a pre-cooked ticket are false, plain and simple,” the spokesman, Bill Russo, tweeted.

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The denial comes amid reports that Biden's team had discussed picking Abrams as Biden's running mate in an early move to try to win over Democrats fearful of Biden's age or his more centrist positions.

Abrams is African-American and a progressive, and the talk about her being paired with Biden was also seen as a way for the former vice president to make inroads with black voters.

Axios reported Thursday that Biden’s advisers were weighing Abrams as a possible pick. She was propelled to political stardom last year during her closely watched, though ultimately unsuccessful, campaign for Georgia governor.

Having Abrams on the ticket would have added diversity and progressive flair to Biden’s campaign-in-waiting at a time when many in the Democratic Party’s activist base have soured on the idea of nominating a white, older man as their 2020 presidential candidate.

Abrams, who herself has kept the door open to a potential presidential run, met with Biden in Washington last week.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’s former campaign manager, said in a separate tweet on Friday that there had been “no grand plan hatched” between Abrams and Biden, adding that all options for Abrams’s political future are still “on the table.”

“@staceyabrams enjoyed meeting with @JoeBiden. There was no grand plan hatched and no additional conversations between the two of them or our teams since,” Groh-Wargo wrote. “She will meet with any potential or declared candidates for pres who ask while she keeps all options for herself on the table.”

The timing of the pushback from Russo and Groh-Wargo was notable.

It came minutes after the Justice Department confirmed that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE had delivered a report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William Barr, something that ensures it would not be discussed thoroughly on cable news for the time being.