Biden has been dogged both by questions about his age and his failure to attract younger voters, putting pressure on his campaign to balance his ticket with a fresh face. Geography, too, is a consideration. The imperative to win back the Rust Belt, said Biden advisers, will be one major factor in the decision.
That could give an edge to Klobuchar, who demonstrated she can win in the purple state of Minnesota and stumped aggressively for Biden in Michigan as well as in her home state. Klobuchar’s swift exit from the race and endorsement of Biden ahead of Super Tuesday helped him consolidate moderate support at a pivotal moment in the primary. Klobuchar, like Harris, is also a strong debater, Clyburn pointed out.
Whitmer likewise checks the Midwestern box. The Michigan governor stepped up to provide a critical endorsement just before the Michigan primary. Biden went on to win every county in the state in a victory that devastated Sanders’ campaign. Michigan, too, is considered ground zero in the fall fight against Trump.
Several Biden advisers noted the golden rule of choosing a vice presidential candidate: “First, do no harm.” To that end, ensuring that their choice has no skeletons is critical. “Our campaign will run a rigorous vetting process,” one of the advisers said.
Aides insist Biden’s decision to announce his intentions to name a woman on the debate stage was his own and not part of a larger strategy.
“It’s something he thought about a lot recently, and he decided he wanted to make a big commitment on a big stage,” said Biden adviser Symone Sanders. “Vice President Biden also doubled down on choosing a black woman for the Supreme Court. So both of these are enormous commitments to diversity and, frankly, to progress.”
A roadmap for the campaign’s thoughts can be found in a 16-page report, “Selecting a Vice President: Advice for Presidential Candidates,” which was issued in 2016 by the Bipartisan Policy Center. One of Biden’s top advisors, Anita Dunn, was part of the center’s working group that produced the study.
Among its recommendations: campaigns should begin the core vetting and selecting process at least eight weeks before the convention. And “presidential candidates should spend meaningful time personally getting to know each potential running mate.”