Biden : The "invasive" VP vetting process will now begin

Can someone please buy the former VP a thesaurus? Last night in an interview with Stephen Colbert, Joe Biden announced that his advisors had wrapped up the preliminaries for selecting potential running mates for his presidential bid. The process will shortly shift into high gear, Biden told Colbert, with the women chosen as the most likely candidates getting much more scrutiny to ensure that no rude surprises would emerge on the campaign trail.

Biden has apparently provided enough of them already, and the word “invasive” is not the best choice in light of those:

Joe Biden told Stephen Colbert on CBS’ “The Late Show” on Thursday that he still doesn’t know who he will pick as his running mate, but acknowledged that a “very invasive process” of vetting is now underway.

The big picture: Biden told Colbert that his campaign already reached out to “a preliminary list of people” — and a team of lawyers will begin examining “every vote they’ve taken … everything from their financial statements to their health circumstances.”

  • But he said that he still doesn’t know who it’ll ultimately be: “I honest to God don’t know who. I promise you right now.”
  • The former vice president committed earlier this year to selecting a woman as his running mate.

When it comes to examining women, Biden’s been “invasive” enough at times, especially and literally according to Tara Reade. For that matter, so has Chris Dodd, the man Biden chose for some reason to vet women to be his running mate.  Thorough, yes, granular, surely, but … “invasive” is not the term to be using in this context. At least not with this campaign, anyway.

So who wants to have Joe Biden and Chris Dodd do an “invasive” vetting for the job? Amy Klobuchar leads the list, according to an unnamed source on Team Biden that leaked it to CBS:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, long seen as a possible running mate for former Vice President Joe Biden, is reportedly getting official consideration for the job.

That’s according to a tweet Thursday from a CBS News campaign reporter who said Klobuchar has been asked by Joe Biden “to undergo vetting to be considered for his VP.” The report was attributed to a senior Biden aide.

A Biden campaign spokeswoman declined to confirm or comment on the report. A spokesman for Klobuchar did not respond to a request for comment.

Klobuchar makes the most sense of any of the other proposed candidates, at least at this point in time. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gretchen Whitmer might have been a smarter choice as the governor of a state Biden and Democrats really need to win back to beat Donald Trump. After turning into a petty tyrant over the last two months, though, Whitmer might not be able to deliver Michigan to Biden as running mate or in any other role, and now has more baggage than Biden needs. Klobuchar can help deliver Wisconsin and make Biden more competitive in Iowa, perhaps, but most of all she’s competent without the potential of outshining Biden. Plus, her Senate seat is relatively safe even if the Biden/Klobuchar ticket wins.

However, the question will be just how much identity politics Biden wants to play. His party has put pressure on him to consider a woman of color, and the Washington Post’s absurdly gushing profile of Stacey Abrams shows just how high that pressure has gotten. Kamala Harris would be the more obvious choice, but that presents a couple of problems for Biden. First, Harris wouldn’t deliver any constituency Biden doesn’t already have. California’s already in the bag too, plus as everyone found out last year, Harris is simply terrible on the stump. She could only keep her seat in a one-party state. In a debate with Mike Pence, Klobuchar could at least hold her own, but Harris got stomped by Tulsi Gabbard. Twice!

Elizabeth Warren clearly wants some consideration, but Warren’s almost as old as Biden and also comes from a deep-blue state with little draw elsewhere. Plus, Warren has credibility problems of her own making, not just on prior claims of Native American heritage but new episodes of fabulism on the campaign trail this time. She also sold out at the end to the big-donor system she claimed to be fighting against and tried to shiv Bernie Sanders in desperation. Warren might be the only potential running mate that would make Biden look baggage-free.

CBS reports that Maggie Hassan has also signed up for some “invasive” treatment, but a couple of others might not be quite as anxious to do so publicly:

While several are expected to consent to a vetting, at least one potential contender has bowed out. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, who is running for reelection this year, declined Biden’s invitation to be considered, according to a person familiar with her decision. But Senator Maggie Hassan, the other New Hampshire senator, has agreed to be vetted, according to local news reports. …

On Thursday, Representative Val Demings, Democrat of Florida, who represents an Orlando-area district and once served as that city’s police chief, said in a radio interview that “I am on the short list and I’m honored to be on the short list.”

News outlets have also reported that New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has told associates she’s being vetted for the job – something her aides have strongly denied. And Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, told reporters last week that his Land of Lincoln colleague, Senator Tammy Duckworth, is also set to be interviewed by the Biden team – a statement Duckworth aides also disputed.

Of all the above, Duckworth’s probably the best prospect as a veteran and a face that has emerged at times above the crowd. Illinois is another safe Democratic state, though, and it’s tough to see Duckworth delivering anywhere else. Klobuchar has an edge on her by dint of having run for the nomination and showing she can at times compete on the trail, plus perhaps having a bit more regional influence.

As far as the vetting goes, though, good luck with that. Trump’s campaign has very good researchers, and they’ll find something on Biden’s running mate no matter what — to the extent they look, anyway. Biden’s the real target, and he provides so much material for oppo research, they might not even bother with the VP nominee.

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