Biden has talked with Obama about possible vice presidential pick

Biden told Georgia donors his nominee would have to be prepared to step into the top job immediately.
Image: Candidate Joe Biden Delivers Remarks On Coronavirus Outbreak
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak in Wilmington, Delaware, on March 12.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

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By Marianna Sotomayor and Tim Stelloh

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden said Sunday that he has talked with former President Barack Obama about a potential vice presidential pick.

Speaking to over 70 Georgia donors on a fundraising call, Biden said he and Obama recently agreed that his vice presidential nominee must have the political experience to step in as president if he were unable to serve.

"The most important thing — and I've actually talked to Barack about this — the most important thing is that there has to be someone who, the day after they're picked, is prepared to be president of the United States of America if something happened," Biden said.

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Without mentioning names, Biden told donors his team is considering at least seven women. The vetting process, which a campaign official described to NBC News as "vigorous," will begin in a "matter of weeks," he said.

During a CNN debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders last week, Biden said he planned to select a woman as his vice presidential candidate should be become the Democratic nominee.

"They have to be prepared," Biden said. "Once I pick someone, God willing, if I'm the nominee, that there's not going to be any snafu."

Biden has said repeatedly that he would prefer to pick a woman as his vice president, but he disclosed only recently that he is taking his age — he is 77 — into consideration as he makes his choice.

"I have to pick someone if, God forbid, tomorrow, if I contracted what my son had or something like that, that the person is ready on day one to be president of the United States," Biden said in February at a CNN town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire.

He then added, "But the second criteria is I would very much like my administration to look like the country, like Barack and our administration looked like."

Obama has said he will not endorse during the Democratic primary, but Biden has said the two have spoken regularly during the campaign, with Obama as an informal adviser. Obama has also advised other former Democratic presidential candidates.

Biden has said he would like to have the kind of respectful and trust-filled relationship with his running mate that he and Obama enjoyed, calling it "simpatico."

Among the women Biden has mentioned as potential vice presidential picks are former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California, the latter three once candidates themselves for the presidential nomination.

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, whom Biden has mentioned as a possibility, was on the donor call Sunday, and he described her as "incredible person."

Biden also told the donors he did not think the general election should be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We voted in the middle of a Civil War," he said. "We voted in the middle of World War I and II. And so the idea of postponing the electoral process is just, seems to me, out of the question."

Sunday's fundraiser had originally been scheduled to take place in Atlanta, but all of Biden's in-person events were suspended two weeks ago as the virus began to spread across the United States. The fundraiser was his second virtual event in the past week.