Warren being vetted as possible Clinton VP pick
NEW YORK — Liberal champion Elizabeth Warren is among those being vetted to be the running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, a person familiar with the process said Tuesday, raising the possibility of a historic ticket of two women.
Warren, Massachusetts’ senior senator, is among several Democrats who are being seriously considered for the role, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the deliberations. Vetting includes examining a candidate’s past policy positions, viewing financial documents, and holding interviews with the potential pick.
News that Clinton’s team is spending valuable resources examining Warren’s background is a sign that Warren’s potential candidacy — the subject of continuous speculation in Washington political circles for months — has reached a new level of seriousness.
Doubling down on the historic nature of Clinton’s bid to be the first woman elected president by adding another woman in the vice presidential slot would present some risks and might even seem far-fetched. But it also would generate enormous enthusiasm for the Democrats among liberals and young people, especially young women.
And, after all, presidential campaigns have featured pairings of men for centuries.
Clinton’s deadline for making a selection is the July 25 Democratic convention, giving her team five weeks to fully examine the backgrounds of the contenders.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Warren is on Clinton’s vice presidential short list with at least two others: Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, a well-liked lawmaker from an important general election battleground state who also has foreign policy experience as a member of the Armed Services Committee; and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro of Texas, a 41-year-old rising star.
Mentioned separately as contenders have been Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, among others.
Warren issued her first solo fund-raising plea on Clinton’s behalf Tuesday, asking for small dollar donations. “We need a candidate who fights for the right values — and who isn’t afraid to fight back against right-wing lunatics trying to undermine progress in our country,” Warren wrote, before taking aim at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump: “Because let’s be honest, the Republicans have nominated the looniest of the right-wing lunatics to become our country’s next commander-in-chief.”
Clinton and Warren don’t have a close relationship, which could hurt Warren’s chances. She lacks deep experience in the federal bureaucracy or longstanding ties on the Hill. She has scant foreign policy experience. And she comes from a state that is solidly in the Democratic column, even without her on the ticket.
Picking Warren as her No. 2 also would cause trouble for the more-centrist Clinton with the business community, much of which loathes the Massachusetts liberal and her populist positions. That dislike burns particularly deeply among the Wall Street firms that Warren has made a career of criticizing for their role in the 2008 economic meltdown.
While Clinton has outlined a meaty Wall Street reform agenda, she has resisted calls from primary rival Senator Bernie Sanders and the left to embrace breaking up the biggest banks as a specific policy goal. Rather, Clinton has focused on addressing looming risks in the so-called “shadow banking” system – bank-like activities such as lending that are increasingly being conducted by hedge funds, investment banks, and other entities that are not as tightly regulated as traditional banks.
As Clinton prepares for the general election, her team is focusing on boosting her popularity among African-Americans, Hispanics, women, and voters under 35 years old. She fared well with minorities and women during the primary race, but she fell short among the younger voters who flocked to Sanders and are fond of Warren.
Regardless of whom Clinton selects, Warren is expected to play a major role as a surrogate during the campaign. That will include joint appearances at events and also solo rallies where Warren is fully capable of revving up crowds on her own. Last weekend she pitched Clinton at a Democratic Party gathering in New Hampshire, which is expected to be a battleground state in November.
Warren endorsed Clinton shortly after the New York Democrat overwhelmingly won the California primary earlier this month and quickly became a highly visible backer. The two women met for about an hour at Clinton’s home in Washington on June 10. Warren stopped by Clinton’s campaign headquarters last week to give a pep talk and tape a video attacking Trump.
Two of Warren’s advisers have told the Globe that while she is intrigued with the idea of joining the Clinton ticket, she has some reservations about whether it would be the right role for her. Some political observers believe she has more power from her perch in the Senate than she would if she joined the White House, where she would be tethered to Clinton’s agenda.
Should Warren be selected, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, would appoint a replacement to her seat. However, there would need to be a special election held within roughly five months of Warren resigning her post. She could start the clock on this timeframe by resigning the day after the November election, triggering a special election as soon as March 2017.
An open Senate seat in the Bay State would set off a mad scramble. US Representatives Joe Kennedy, Katherine Clark, and Seth Moulton are among the most frequently mentioned up-and-comers in the party.
Among Republicans mentioned as possible contenders are former state senator Richard Tisei of Wakefield and Brian Shortsleeve, chief administrator of the MBTA, of Wellesley.
Moulton on Tuesday enthusiastically supported his colleague joining the ticket. “Elizabeth Warren would be a great pick to unite the party,’’ he said.
Clinton hasn’t weighed in publicly on where she stands on her short list for vice president. The only real guidance she’s given is that she likes the current occupant of the office.
In a recent interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,’’ Clinton was asked what characteristics she’s looking for. “Someone who can go around the country,’’ she said, “as Joe Biden has done very well.”