Joe Biden may be putting the cart a bit ahead of the horse here, but he fielded a question during a town hall on Friday night as to who he might choose as his running mate. The veepstakes issue is always a touchy subject for any of the frontrunners, so Uncle Joe didn’t list anyone by name. But he might as well have, since he described each of four possible selections in a way that left no room for doubt. (The Hill)
White House hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden (D) identified four women he could name as his pick for vice president if he wins the Democratic nomination.
At a town hall Friday night, Biden was asked about his pick, and he joked back to the questioner “You. Are you available?” USA Today reported.
Biden did not say any specific names, but he said multiple people are qualified, including “the former assistant attorney general who got fired,” referring to former Attorney General Sally Yates; “the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia,” referring to Stacey Abrams; and “the two senators from the state of New Hampshire,” referring to U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Maggie Hassan (D).
This is obviously a question that Biden and his aides have been preparing for, ever since he got into the race. The fact that he restricted his list to only female candidates was pretty much a no-brainer. Joe has been through this process before and obviously recognizes the danger signals in the distance. If an elderly white guy picks another white guy as his running mate, the Democratic base will react with a mixture of fury and depression, neither of which does anything for their turnout next November.
The list of specific choices is unremarkable but still fairly cagey. Yates is unlikely to be the final choice, but hers is a good name to toss out. She’s got executive branch experience and carries a whiff of the bipartisanship that Biden loves to talk about, having served under both a Democratic and (very briefly) a Republican president. Also, having been in a direct scrap with Donald Trump over enforcing his travel ban, she serves as a poke in the eye to Trump.
Mentioning Stacey Abrams was also a fairly obvious choice. Despite being best known for losing what looked like a winnable gubernatorial race, she’s one of the female African-American potential candidates who remains on everyone’s lips. (You’ll recall she was given the honor of delivering one of the rebuttals to the State of the Union.) Checking the boxes for both women and minorities is just a bonus.
Suggesting both of the Senators from New Hampshire was painfully on the nose since that was just an obvious bid to raise his profile in the first primary state, where he’s been lagging of late. He probably would have tossed in somebody from Iowa if both of their senators weren’t Republicans.
The problem for Biden (or any frontrunner, really) when it comes to the veepstakes is that he can’t afford to suggest any of his primary opponents. If he mentioned Warren, Kamala Harris or any of the other women still in the running, they would publicly rebuke him, insisting that they still planned to win the nomination themselves. And that’s one more bad headline Uncle Joe doesn’t need. But the reality is that even if Biden hangs on and wraps up the nomination, he’ll need to try to stitch the divided factions in the party back together again. And with that in mind, it could definitely wind up being someone like Warren or Harris that winds up getting the nod.