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Biden's vice president shortlist emerges, as Demings says she's being vetted

Biden has said he expects the vetting process to take five to eight weeks, which would point to an announcement occurring no sooner than July.
Image: Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Campaigns Ahead Of Primary In South Carolina
Joe Biden addresses a crowd during a campaign event at Wofford University Feb. 28, 2020 in Spartanburg, S.C.Sean Rayford / Getty Images file

A growing number of contenders to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential nominee indicated Thursday that they’ve advanced to a round of intense vetting, suggesting that a shortlist for the slot is taking shape.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., has formally begun interviewing with the Biden campaign for the vice presidential nomination and the vetting process is underway, a source with direct knowledge told NBC News Thursday. “We’re definitely on a list,” the source said.

Demings, D-Fla., in an interview with SiriusXM’s “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” said Wednesday night she was on “the shortlist” to be Biden’s vice presidential nominee, saying that she’d accept the job if offered.

“If Vice President Biden asked me to serve along with him, I would be honored to do just that,” she said.

Demings has represented an Orlando-area district — a key territory in the critical battleground state of Florida — since 2017. Earlier in her career, she was the police chief of Orlando. She also served as a House manager during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, CBS News reported that Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was asked by the Biden campaign to undergo a formal vetting for consideration for the veep slot.

Klobuchar ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out in March to endorse Biden.

She wouldn't confirm or deny the report on Friday morning in an interview with WCCO Radio in Minneapolis, saying “Joe Biden is going to decide, so I'm not going to go into the details of this process."

NBC News reported Thursday that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., had declined a request from Biden’s presidential campaign to be vetted as a potential running mate.

The Biden team's interest in Shaheen was first reported by Manchester, N.H., ABC affiliate WMUR, which also reported that Maggie Hassan, the state’s other Democratic senator, has agreed to be vetted by the Biden campaign for consideration for the vice presidential nomination.

Shaheen told MSNBC on Friday that she was “honored” to be mentioned as a potential running mate, “But my priority is to the people of New Hampshire.”

Earlier this week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer disclosed that she has been in touch with Biden’s team. During a "Today" interview Tuesday she said, “it was just an opening conversation.”

If elected, Biden, 77, would be the oldest-ever president-elect, which has put an intense focus on his pick for vice president. Biden has spoken often of seeing himself as a transitional presidential, leading many politics-watchers to believe that his running mate could eventually be the leader of the Democratic Party and, if Biden won in 2020, the likely Democratic nominee in 2024.

Biden has said he expects the vetting process to take five to eight weeks, which would point to an announcement occurring no sooner than July.

In an interview Thursday night on CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Biden said he doesn't know yet who might be his running mate, but added that there's been a team that has gone down a list of people asking whether they're interested in the job and asking general questions.

"That process is coming to an end now," said Biden, who said that the actual vetting, where his team combs through every detail in a person's background, hasn't started yet. "It is a very invasive process, and that's why what you don't want to do is you don't want to let all the names out you're vetting."

During a virtual fundraiser last week, Biden said, “They're now in the process of thoroughly examining a group of women, all of whom are capable in my view of being president. And there's about a dozen of them."

Biden had previously vowed to choose a woman as his running mate.

In March, She the People, an influential group of women of color, released an internal poll showing that Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia state House, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., were the leading Democratic vice presidential picks among their members.

Other women who have been frequently mentioned by politicians, strategists and voters include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.