Where the Veep Race Stands

It’s currently a contest between Kamala Harris, Susan Rice, Tammy Duckworth and Elizabeth Warren.

Ryan Lizza created a stir in Politico on Monday when he reported that former Senator Christopher Dodd, who is vetting potential vice-presidential candidates for Joe Biden, is unimpressed with Kamala Harris. In particular, Dodd allegedly doesn’t like how Harris responded when asked about her decision to go after Biden on the busing issue in the first Democratic debate.

This set off a furious response from supporters of Harris, including her online KHIVE fanbase. It was probably counterproductive, unless you think sending a mob to trash Chris Dodd is going to impress Biden. Of course, some figured the appearance of this article indicated that it was a lost cause in any case, but some interpreted the Dodd story as a desperate attempt to derail a nearly completed process that will put Harris on the ticket.

I don’t know where Harris currently stands, but Politico is back today with a story from Nahal Toosi on Susan Rice. Considering how many sources friendly to Rice cooperated on the article, it’s a pretty clear lobbying effort. The Rice camp is probably pleased with the result, as the piece reads like an advertisement. Taken together, the Lizza and Toosi articles are turning Politico into an enemy of the Harris camp.

Yet, their coverage of Karen Bass has been more critical. Quint Forgey focused on something the California congresswoman said at the time of Fidel Castro’s death:

In an interview on MSNBC, the five-term House lawmaker and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus addressed her decision to describe Castro as “Comandante en Jefe” in a statement she issued marking his death in 2016.

The Spanish phrase, which translates in English to commander in chief, has been criticized as unduly deferential to the communist strongman who presided over various human rights abuses.

“I have talked to my colleagues in the House about that, and it’s certainly something that I would not say again,” Bass said. “I have always supported the Cuban people, and the relationship that Barack Obama and Biden had in their administration in terms of opening up relations.”

Of course, Bass was only asked about this comment in response to a Politico article from Marc Caputo “detailing outrage among Florida Democrats over former Vice President Joe Biden’s vetting of Bass to become his running mate.”

The Florida Democratic Party has spent two years fighting a renewed GOP effort to brand it as socialists, and the state and national parties are spending big this year in Miami to defend two congressional seats and win two crucial state Senate contests in districts with sizable Cuban-American populations. All four lawmakers condemned Bass’ Castro remarks.

“The comments are troubling. It shows a lack of understanding about what the Castro regime was about. So I have to learn more about her position and perspective on Fidel Castro,” said Miami state Rep. Javier Fernandez, whose bid for an open state Senate seat could bring Democrats closer than ever to flipping control of the chamber.

So, somehow a contest that pits three talented, well-credentialed and ambitious black women against each other, is playing out by proxy in the pages of Politico. Yet, Elizabeth Warren is still in the running. Last week, the Associated Press weighed in with an examination of how she became “an unlikely confidant and adviser to Biden.” On June 15, she helped Biden raise $6 million in a single event.

Two weeks ago, Natasha Korecki of Politico announced “Tammy Duckworth bursts into VP contention” and “The Purple Heart recipient has captured the imagination of donors and the Biden team.” There’s been a little less buzz about her in the last few days, but she’s probably with the others on the finalists’ list.

There’s been some discussion of governors Gina Raimondo and Michelle Lujan Grisham, as well as Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Florida representatives Val Demings, but they certainly haven’t been as successful at self-promotion as the others. Maybe that’s a plus in Biden’s mind, but it seems like their hopes have faded.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com