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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Veep Politics

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.

Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck at NYT:
In conversations with Mr. Biden and his vetting committee, lawmakers have recommended Ms. Bass as a consensus candidate who is well-liked across partisan and factional lines and would be a loyal lieutenant to him in government.

Ms. Bass has reinforced that message by assuring Democratic officials that she has no interest in seeking the presidency herself, according to lawmakers directly familiar with the discussions. That commitment could assuage concerns in the Biden camp that he might be overshadowed by a running mate positioning herself to succeed him.
Ms. Bass has also waged a previously undisclosed campaign to woo influential liberal leaders, telephoning union presidents to seek their counsel and support.
...
Mr. Biden’s campaign is angry about a leak to Politico this week that revealed that former Senator Christopher J. Dodd, one of the leaders of Mr. Biden’s search team, is uneasy with Ms. Harris. Mr. Dodd has repeatedly indicated to allies that he believed Mr. Biden should broaden the prospects and not focus on only well-known possibilities.
Mr. Dodd is scarcely alone in his lack of enthusiasm for Ms. Harris, whose own presidential campaign never matched its high expectations; she dropped out two months before voting began.
“The thing I keep thinking about Kamala is her performance in the primary,” said Representative Filemon Vela of Texas, an early supporter of Mr. Biden. Mr. Vela said his top three choices were Ms. Bass, Ms. Rice and Ms. Duckworth — but he said the last two would fare best in his state.
One Democrat close to Mr. Biden’s campaign said its polling indicated that Ms. Harris has little allure with Black voters. More telling, a Biden campaign official reached out to The New York Times, unprompted, to say that some of the former vice president’s own staff members are not supportive of her.
Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki at Politico:
Allies of Kamala Harris sought and received a meeting with Joe Biden’s campaign staff this week after a leader of his vice presidential vetting team was quoted doubting whether she’d be a loyal No. 2.
Prominent supporters of the California senator asked for the virtual sit-down on the heels of a POLITICO report Monday that Harris is not a lock for VP. It quoted former Sen. Chris Dodd, one of four members of the vetting unit, remarking to a prominent Democratic donor that Harris had “no remorse” for attacking Biden during a debate last year. Biden’s campaign at the time viewed the attack — Harris went after Biden for opposing a school busing program — as a cheap shot contrived to make him look racially insensitive.

That story and another recent POLITICO report detailed that a contingent of Democrats is lobbying against Harris to be chosen as Biden’s running mate.


The conference call included several of the state’s highest-ranking elected officials and labor and business leaders, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, state schools chief Tony Thurmond, state Treasurer Fiona Ma and Chad Griffin, a Democratic consultant and former head of Human Rights campaign, according to organizers.
Representing the Biden campaign were the four main members of his vetting team: Dodd, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Biden's former White House and Senate counsel, Cynthia Hogan.
Harris was not involved in organizing the call, they said.
Rachel Olding at The Daily Beast:
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), a leading contender to be Joe Biden’s running mate, heaped praise on the Church of Scientology at a 2010 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Los Angeles facility, The Daily Caller reports. At the event, which was filmed, Bass praised the church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard and told the 6,000 attendees that the opening was “an exciting moment because I know your goal and your commitment is truly to make a difference.” Bass, 66, was a member of the California General Assembly at the time. The shady church has been accused by former members of operating like a cult, allowing sexual and physical abuse to proliferate, and intimidating former members into silence by stalking and threatening them.