Biden Campaign Insider Says Amy Klobuchar 'Could Be #1' on Short List for VP Slot; Provides Odds for Others

AP Photo/John Bazemore

In early March, shortly after Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) had ended her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination and endorsed Joe Biden, she had a “slip of the tongue” on the campaign trail. At an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Klobuchar said she “couldn’t think of a better way to end my candidacy than joining the ticket…” According to NBC’s Amanda Golden, she quickly corrected to say “join the terrific campaign of Joe Biden.” My colleague Nick Arama posted on this story here.

Due to his age, and particularly because of his obvious cognitive decline in recent months, the business of selecting a running mate for the former Vice President is especially important. Democratic strategist James Carville told The New York Post, “I think he’s aware that he might be picking the next president. I think people are going to be more aware of that, too.”

A campaign insider spoke to The Post and provided a glimpse of the odds of selection for eleven potential candidates. This insider said of Klobuchar, “She could be No. 1.” With odds of selection of 5 to 2, the Senator from Minnesota tops the list.

Klobuchar ended her campaign the day before Super Tuesday and endorsed Biden that night at a Dallas, TX rally along with former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke. The Post writes this “allowed Biden to consolidate the moderate/establishment wing of the Democratic party and set the groundwork for his eventual triumph over Sanders.”

A Senate insider told The Post that “Klobuchar had standout “political skills” and was also the favorite of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Team Biden also hopes her presence on the ticket will help nail down a critical swing state.”

Senior Democratic party insiders provided The Post with the following list of candidates under consideration along with their odds of being selected.

• Amy Klobuchar 5 to 2

• Gretchen Whitmer  4 to 1

• Kamala Harris  9 to 1

• Tammy Duckworth  9 to 1

• Michelle Obama  15 to 1

• Elizabeth Warren  20 to 1

• Stacey Abrams  25 to 1

• Catherine Cortez Masto  25 to 1

• Michelle Lujan Grisham 33 to 1

• Hillary Clinton  100 to 1

• Andrew Cuomo  500 to 1

There has been a lot of speculation that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer might be the choice. It depends upon how one feels about her “response” to the COVID-19 crisis. Personally, I have found her actions and statements to be appalling, but the Senate insider who spoke to The Post seems to see it differently. He said, “Whitmer’s coronavirus leadership in Michigan has won praise, turning her into something of a midwestern Andrew Cuomo.”

There may be lingering resentments after California Sen. Kamala Harris’ attack on Biden over busing and working with segregationists in an early debate. Although she is a “candidate of color,” as Politico put it, black voters have “never flocked to her.” Some may have felt her attack to be insincere. It certainly appeared to be well-rehearsed. I have always found Harris to be inauthentic.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL), a former U.S. Army Lt. Col., lost her legs in Iraq when the “UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.” She was the first female double amputee in the Iraq war. The Senate insider said Duckworth would bring a war hero to the ticket.

Regarding the others, The Post writes:

Nevada Sen. Masto, New Mexico Gov. Grisham, and (almost) Georgia Gov. Abrams are “in the mix,” according to the Biden insider. Both Masto and Grisham could potentially shore up Biden with Hispanic voters, who overwhelmingly chose Sanders in the Nevada caucus. Abrams, a former state legislator and romance novelist, has fallen out of the top tier due to concerns about her lack of experience. “[Biden] wants someone, where if he dies, someone can take over on Day 1 ready to serve,” the insider said.

Elizabeth Warren, another long-shot, would be the best olive branch the party could offer to Bernie Bros, but she has been cool to Biden since leaving the race, and hasn’t officially endorsed him. “I think [Warren] is smart. Her competency is off the charts, she understands economic issues better than anyone who ran this cycle,” said Elizabeth Spiers, a Democratic strategist.

While Michelle Obama would give the party a near-mythical “Biden/Obama” ticket, Mrs. Obama “hates politics” according to the insider and would never accept the offer. Her husband has also notably not endorsed his former veep yet.

The insider said that both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are “non-starters.”

The failed 2016 nominee and current coronavirus hero are non-starters, an insider said. First, Biden “doesn’t like” Hillary. “If Biden wants to make sure he loses he should pick [Hillary],” the source said. And while it’s not impossible Biden could break his pledge to pick a woman — it won’t be for Cuomo.