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Over the next week, Joe Biden will announce his pick to be his Vice Presidential running mate, from among the female candidates he has listed on his “short list”. Biden will be 78 years old when he is inaugurated, and needs to select someone who is experienced enough to succeed him competently as President, if he dies or become ill in office or decides not to run for a second term. Here are the choices, and my comments on each of them, listed alphabetically:

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  • Stacy Abrams: A 46-year-old black unmarried losing candidate (by a narrow margin) for governor of Georgia in 2018, she has been aggressive in saying that she wants the VP job. She has no national political experience, and apparently is disliked by Congressman James Clyburn, a key Biden advisor. Little chance.
  • Tammy Baldwin: A 58-year-old lesbian second-term senator from Wisconsin, a battleground state, she is a long shot.
  • Karen Bass: A low key 66-year-old divorced black California Congresswoman (whom I know), she rose to be Speaker of the California Assembly, and has risen to the leadership of the Democratic Party in Congress in seven years there. A solid choice, although not a nationally known politician.
  • Keisha Lance Bottoms:The 50-year-old black mayor of Atlanta, she has gotten national prominence by battling the Governor of Georgia and Trump over their misguided response to the Coronavirus. No experience in national politics, but a major player in Georgia politics. A long shot.
  • Val Demings:A 63-year-old black Florida Congresswoman in her second term and former police chief in Orlando, she was one of the seven House Democrats conducting the impeachment trial in the Senate. Little national experience, but well known from the impeachment trial. Police background may be an election liability in this battleground state.

A 55-year-old long-time Washington insider who was Ambassador to the UN and National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration, Susan Rice is close to Biden and would be his first choice if it were not for her being unfairly tarred with the Benghazi incident.

  • Tammy Duckworth:A 52-year-old first term senator from Illinois, and a veteran who lost both legs in combat, she is an outspoken critic of Trump. She was born in Thailand, the daughter of an American-born military vet whose ancestors go back to the Revolutionary War, and a Thai Chinese mother. There could be an issue as to whether she could become President as someone not born in the U.S, but like Senator John McCain (born in the Canal Zone as the son of an American Naval officer), she probably would survive this challenge. A long shot.
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  • Michelle Lujan Grisham:The 60-year-old first term Hispanic governor of New Mexico, a 12th generation resident of that state, and a former Congresswoman, she is a long shot.
  • Kamala Harris:A 55-year-old first-term senator from California, of black and East Indian heritage, and a former San Francisco prosecutor and California Attorney General, she ran against Biden for President and criticized him during the campaign. Her background as a prosecutor could be a negative, but she is a front runner for VP. A great speaker and debater whom I first met and was impressed with over 10 years ago, she would be a good choice if she is “simpatico” with Biden.
  • Susan Rice: A 55-year-old long-time Washington insider who was Ambassador to the UN and National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration, she is close to Biden and would be his first choice if it were not for her being unfairly tarred with the Benghazi incident. A black Stanford Phi Beta Kappa and Rhodes Scholar, she would focus on repairing America’s relations with our long-time allies, while Biden repairs the damage to our economy and infrastructure done by Trump and his GOP Know Nothings. She has never run for elective office, but would not take away a key Senate seat, as other candidates would do.
  • Elizabeth Warren:A 71-year-old major candidate for President with vast Washington and elective experience, she would be my first choice for VP except for the fact that she is a Senator from Massachusetts, which has a Republican governor who would temporarily (for between 145 and 160 days) appoint her replacement if she becomes VP, which could flip the Senate back to a Republican majority in a close election. She is also much more liberal than Biden, and they may not be “simpatico” politically, and her age could be a negative.
  • Gretchen Whitmer: The 48-year-old first-term governor of Michigan, and a long-time Michigan legislator, she has had major conflicts with Trump which have elevated her national prominence in this battleground state. She has little experience in national politics, and it is unknown what relationship she has with Biden. A long shot.

My prediction: Susan Rice, Benghazi be damned…

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Ted Vaill

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