Biden asks Klobuchar to undergo vetting as potential running mate

Former Vice President Joe Biden has asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (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. 

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 Demings (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 Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (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.”

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 Phillips, 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.

Tags 2020 election Amy Klobuchar Dean Phillips Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden running mate Val Demings vice presidential candidate

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