Amy Klobuchar Withdraws From Vice Presidential Consideration

Friday, June 19th 2020, 5:35 am
By: CBS News

Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday that she is taking herself out of consideration to be the vice president. The Minnesota senator instead told former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, to pick a woman of color as his running mate. Biden had previously asked Klobuchar to undergo formal vetting for the role. 

"After what I've seen in my state, what I've seen across the country, this is a historic moment," the former presidential contender said on MSNBC. "And America must seize on this moment. And I truly believe, as I actually told the [former] Vice President last night when I called him, that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket." 

"And there are so many incredibly qualified women. But if you want to heal this nation, right now — my party, yes, but our nation — this is sure a hell of a way to do it," Klobuchar added.

The senator made the decision on Wednesday after conferring with aides and family, and made the choice entirely on her own with absolutely no pressure from Biden, his campaign aides, or those leading the search, multiple people familiar with her decision said.

Klobuchar and Biden spoke Wednesday night by telephone and she conveyed her decision, aides said.

Her decision comes as Biden's team of VP headhunters is deep into a review of the backgrounds of potential candidates, a process that includes an extensive review of documents, public and private records and extensive written questionnaires and interviews. Only two other potential contenders — Senators Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire — have signaled that they were asked to engage in the search and decided not to participate.

Until the fatal arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the global reckoning on civil rights, policing and racial tensions it provoked, Klobuchar was seen as a formidable option for Biden — and one he'd signaled he admired and deeply appreciated. Klobuchar has since faced criticism for her prosecutorial record and handling of past cases of police brutality.

Klobuchar has been praised by Biden in interviews and campaign fundraisers for her debate skills, ability to sway moderates in his favor, and record of bipartisan deal-making on Capitol Hill. Her eleventh-hour withdrawal from the presidential race on March 2 — less than 24 hours before Super Tuesday — and decision to endorse Biden was also seen as a turning point.

Biden tweeted his support for Klobuchar after she announced her decision to withdraw from the vice presidential race Thursday night, writing, "You know how to get things done. With your help, we're going to beat Donald Trump."

Klobuchar's decision to take herself out of vice presidential consideration does not change Biden's timetable on making a final choice, according to aides familiar with the ongoing running mate search. Biden has said several times publicly that he intends to announce his pick by August 1. 

Biden has shied away from publicly committing to choose a woman of color. He recently insisted to CBS News' Norah O'Donnell that George Floyd's death and the ensuing nationwide protests have not dramatically altered his criteria.

But several women of color, including former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Representative Val Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, are now being considered more seriously for the role than they were weeks prior, CBS News learned this week. Approximately half of the women under consideration are women of color. 

In addition to a small group of family and advisers, Joe Biden is relying on two-term Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, the first woman and African American elected to Congress in Delaware's history, whom he called on months ago to help choose his running mate.

Ed O'Keefe and Bo Erickson contributed reporting. 

First published on June 18, 2020 / 11:35 PM

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