Biden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast

 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points Biden: 'We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us' MORE brought Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) onto his newly launched podcast on Monday, a move that could stoke speculation he’s considering her as a potential running mate.

“Gov. Whitmer is an outstanding governor. She is one of the most talented people in the country in my view,” Biden said while introducing her on the podcast. “She also is a supporter. She was also a co-chair of my campaign. She’s a good friend, but she has been laser focused, laser focused on delivering for her state.”

Biden has already said he plans to choose a woman as his running mate if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination. He has said there are between six and 10 contenders for the role, including Whitmer.

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Biden's associates have spoken about the running mate selection process in recent weeks with former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderLegal challenges to stay-at-home orders gain momentum Census delay threatens to roil redistricting Storm builds around Barr over dropping of Flynn case MORE, who helped lead the effort for former President Obama in 2008. Biden said he has also spoken with Obama about the process.

Besides Whitmer, the former vice president’s allies have also mentioned Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoThe Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation Cortez Masto says she's not interested in being Biden VP The Memo: Activists press Biden on VP choice MORE (D-Nev.), Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita Demings Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Rep. Demings, former police chief, urges review of police practices after death of George Floyd MORE (D-Fla.) and two of his former rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisStates respond with force amid another night of protests Protesters knock down White House security barricades as tensions mount over Floyd's death The Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil MORE (D-Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLiberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record Klobuchar on defense as Floyd death puts spotlight on record Officer involved in George Floyd death charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter MORE (D-Minn.).

Biden’s aides have cautioned, however, that the running mate selection process is still in its early phases. Biden told donors on Friday that he will soon announce the formation of a committee to oversee the process.

“It’s kind of presumptuous, but sometime in the middle of the month we’re going to announce a committee that’s going to be overseeing the vice presidential selection process,” he said, according to a press pool report.

He also said that the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) decision to delay its nominating convention from July to Aug. 17 gives him more time to make his choice.

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Biden has yet to secure the 1,991 delegates he needs to clinch the party’s nomination, but he has amassed a nearly insurmountable lead over his only remaining primary rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support The battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE (I-Vt.).

Biden said on Friday that he had spoken to Sanders and had told him that he would begin moving forward with the running mate selection process.

“We’re competitors. He’s a friend. I don’t want him to think I’m being presumptuous,” Biden said. “But you have to start now deciding who you’re going to have background checks done on as potential vice presidential candidates and it takes time.”

The former vice president launched his podcast “Here’s the Deal” last week as he looks to build up his campaign’s digital operation amid the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has largely halted traditional campaign tactics and forced candidates to step up their online outreach.