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The Biden Veepstakes: Top Candidates Make the Talk Show Rounds

The long, agonizing wait may soon be over. As I reported last week, Joe Biden has promised a running mate announcement this week (though he may delay another week), and we’re all on the edge of our seats, aren’t we?

In the meantime, some of the top candidates for the second slot on the Biden run for the White House are have made the rounds on talk shows, while others have kept a low profile.

Politico says that the former VP has narrowed his field down to a shortlist:

On Sunday, a Biden aide maintained that 11 women remain in the mix, despite most of the attention in recent weeks swirling around five women: Harris, Warren, Rep. Karen Bass, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Aides said Biden has pushed back his planned announcement by a week to next week.

The most prominent names on the list – Senators and former presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren – have stayed off the television circuit, but many of the others on the list have made the rounds.

Duckworth, a veteran who lost both legs in combat, appeared on Fox News Sunday to gush about the field she’s a part of:

“I think any one of the women whose names have been mentioned to be considered are fabulous women and well-prepared to step up and do the job of vice president or step up and take over as president if needed,” she said.

It’s interesting to notice how much of the discussion about Biden’s potential running mates has focused on being ready to become president quickly. I know there’s always the whole “heartbeat away” assertion, but have the Democrats truly placed their lot with someone who may be a temporary president? But I digress.

Obama-era national security adviser Susan Rice appeared on The View last week – that bastion of true journalism – to bash Trump, while Rep. Karen Bass spoke on Meet the Press about her ability to cross racial and partisan lines to get things done.

The emergence of Bass has been an interesting phenomenon. The California Democrat hasn’t bubble near the top of the list until recently, yet she also carries some baggage that’s troubling.

Bass has maintained close ties to Cuba, praising the late dictator Fidel Castro upon his death in a statement that Bass has tried to distance herself from. She has also gone on record praising Scientology in a 2010 video, a statement which she characterized as her attempt to find common ground with the controversial cult.

Her comments about Scientology have made her a sudden lightning rod for criticism from some progressives, including Markos Moulitsas. (Notice how the comments about Castro haven’t garnered much, if any, criticism from the left.)

Bass is an interesting choice to have near the top of the list, partially because her name has seemingly come from nowhere to the shortlist, but also because these controversial statements and positions could give conservatives plenty of fodder to go after her.

Of course, everything is still speculative right now until Biden actually makes an announcement. And even with a slowly winnowing list of front runners, there’s no one name emerging above all others.

I guess we’ll just have to keep waiting.

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