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Biden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast

 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE brought Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan Senate votes to exempt high school graduations from crowd restrictions White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states For Michigan, Biden's first 100 days brought much-needed relief MORE (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 HolderFirst redistricting lawsuits filed by Democratic group On The Trail: Census data kicks off the biggest redistricting fight in American history Voter suppression bills are the first move in a bigger battle 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 MastoOn The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Hillicon Valley: DOJ to review cyber challenges | Gaetz, House Republicans want to end funding for postal service surveillance | TikTok gets new CEO Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Nev.), Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsFlorida Democrats' midterm fantasy faceoff: DeSantis vs. Demings Running as a Democrat, Crist looks to join the smallest club in American politics Crist launches bid for Florida governor, seeking to recapture his old job MORE (D-Fla.) and two of his former rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris's uncle discusses COVID-19 surge in India: 'The conditions are pretty bad' Updating the aging infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' MORE (D-Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court 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 SandersSanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden campaign promises will struggle if Republicans win back Congress Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers 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.