Trauma and gaffes crash Biden’s VP selection process


“Because of social media and the explosion of information available, the scrutiny has quadrupled from when I was being vetted,” said former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who ran for president in 2008. “And what it does is, it makes the selection process that much more difficult for any presidential candidate, because the scrutiny focuses more on the negative than the positive.”

Richardson added, “The main criteria should be for the VP who can step in and become president. And now it may be, who can bring to the ticket less damage.”

Biden, along with campaign aides and outside allies, including elected officials and donors, acknowledge that this year’s search — given his advancing age, his own hints that he may serve only a single term, and his No. 2’s ability to shape the direction of the party—has taken on added significance. “It’s more important than I’ve seen it in the last many decades,” Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader and a friend of Biden’s, told POLITICO.

Reid said he expressed as much to Biden in their conversations, including in a recent phone call, and “he didn’t disagree.”

Biden told donors last week that his vetting committee has been working through his shortlist and is deciding who makes the next cut: “Whether or not they really want it. Are they comfortable?” Biden explained. On Thursday, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, one of two Latinas in contention along with Michelle Lujan Grisham, withdrew from consideration for the job.

“Right now, we’re in preliminary stage,” said Reid, who had spoken highly of Cortez Masto.


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