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Biden asks Klobuchar to undergo vetting as potential running mate

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE has asked Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction FDA signals plan to address toxic elements in baby food MORE (D-Minn.) to undergo vetting to be a potential running mate, according to a source with knowledge of the discussion.

The source did not provide details on the discussion, which was first reported on Thursday by CBS News. A spokesperson for the Biden campaign declined to comment on the matter. 

It’s not yet clear if Klobuchar has consented to the vetting, which would delve deep into her private and public life to uncover any potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities as a vice presidential candidate. The vetting process will be handled by a select committee led by former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) and longtime Biden adviser Cynthia Hogan. 

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Biden has already pledged to choose a woman as his running mate and is said to be considering around a dozen potential candidates. Among the potential candidates is Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism Demings on possible Senate, Florida governor run: 'I'm keeping that door open' Lawmakers remember actress Cicely Tyson MORE (D-Fla.) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who said this week that she has had an “opening conversation” with the Biden campaign about the running mate slot.

Klobuchar is among a small group of Biden’s former rivals in the Democratic presidential primary who are said to be on the list of potential vice presidential picks. Two others — Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWhite House says Biden would prefer to not end filibuster Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (D-Mass.) — are also seen as potential candidates.

If Biden were to choose Klobuchar as his running mate, he would add a fellow moderate to the Democratic ticket — a move that may help win over some independents and centrists, but one that would almost certainly anger liberals, who are pushing Biden to choose a progressive as his running mate.

Norman Solomon, a longtime activist who is advising the progressive political action committee Once Again PAC, said that it would be a mistake for Biden to choose Klobuchar as his running mate, arguing that it would upend his efforts to unite the Democratic Party.

“Someone like Klobuchar is anathema to broadening the ticket,” Solomon said in a recent interview. “If Biden is serious about unity then he’s got to pitch a tent big enough to include progressives.”

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One option may be Warren, a progressive who, like Klobuchar, once competed against Biden for the Democratic nomination. Since she ended her campaign in March, the Massachusetts senator has turned to her own email list to help raise money for Biden and has been actively promoting the former vice president’s campaign website during public appearances.

One potentially advantageous quality Klobuchar could bring to the ticket is her Midwestern roots. Democrats are particularly eager to win back a handful of Midwestern states that Trump carried in 2016, including Michigan and Wisconsin, and some in the party argue that having a running mate from the region could be a boon to Biden’s prospects there.

Klobuchar has support among some centrist Democrats on Capitol Hill. Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsCurator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Architect of the Capitol considering display on Jan. 6 riot Rep. Phillips says he did not truly understand white privilege until the Capitol riot MORE, a moderate Minnesota Democrat like Klobuchar, says his home-state senator would boost Biden in Rust-Belt swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania that Trump won in 2016.

“As a party that is increasingly portrayed as one for both coasts, I think there's something quite powerful about a vice presidential candidate from the Heartland,” Phillips told The Hill, noting that others on the VP short-list hail from California, Massachusetts and other coastal states. “I do think that there's a big part of this country that is looking for someone that kind of feels like they know them, represent them and understand them, and Klobuchar really does.

“I think the middle of America is longing for that kind of representation on both sides of the aisle,” he added.

Biden’s decision on a running mate is still likely weeks away. The former vice president told donors at a virtual fundraiser late last month that he expects the vetting process to be completed by July and that a final decision will be made shortly after that.