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Biden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast

 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE brought Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerPope Francis swipes at groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions in NYT op-ed Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Oregon governor urges hosts to 'uninvite' guests 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 HolderEx-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results Tyson Foods suspends Iowa plant officials amid coronavirus scandal Money can't buy the Senate 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 MastoFavorites emerge as Latino leaders press Biden to appoint 5 Hispanics to Cabinet Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  McConnell, Graham warn GOP Senate majority on the line in Georgia MORE (D-Nev.), Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDemings on Florida: 'We're excited about what we're seeing' but 'taking absolutely nothing for granted' Why it's time for a majority female Cabinet Sunday shows preview: The final push to Election Day MORE (D-Fla.) and two of his former rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force Club for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's MORE (D-Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation 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 SandersClub for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Inequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift In defense of incrementalism: A call for radical realism 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.