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Hillary Clinton reportedly vetting Tufts dean for VP

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James Stavridis at Tufts during the 2016 Class Day.

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren's star lost some luster in Hillary Clinton's vice presidential sweepstakes Tuesday, while the stock rose on a relatively little known retired admiral and Massachusetts college official whose name had not been mentioned previously.

The Clinton campaign is reportedly vetting retired admiral James Stavridis, the dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, to be her running mate.

Stavridis, 61, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, would bolster the Clinton ticket's foreign policy credentials and be a wildly different pick from the others whom Clinton's campaign has been considering. That list includes Warren and Tim Kaine along with Housing Secretary Juilan Castro and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.


A military leader would do little to assuage the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, whose members are already concerned that Clinton is overly hawkish. Stavridis also is virtually unknown nationally.

Perez and Warren would both be nods to the progressive wing. But Warren has been invited to speak on the Monday of the Democratic convention, according to a source familiar with the schedule. That's not the typical time slot for a vice presidential pick, it's early in the week when attention on the proceedings is at its lowest, and it's a sign that her chances of getting picked may be fading.

In 2012, Warren, in the midst of a heated Senate campaign against Republican Scott Brown, landed a prime speaking spot on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

News of her invitation for a Monday slot at the Philadelphia convention leaked out on the same day that liberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Clinton in New Hampshire after holding out for weeks, taking some of the pressure off Clinton to keep Warren in a close embrace.

The New York Times first reported that Stavridis is under consideration. "On the news buzzing around all I can say is please check with the Clinton campaign directly," he said in an e-mail to the Globe.


Clinton's campaign did not respond to questions from the Globe.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been reportedly considering several former military leaders to be his vice president. He also has suggested that the United States should leave the NATO forces that Stavridis led.

It is unclear how Stavridis would help Clinton with key groups her strategists have said she needs to focus on to win in November. The campaign is attempting to build a coalition similar to President Obama's that includes women, voters under 30, Hispanics, and blacks.

Stavridis was investigated in 2012 over his use of his expense account, including using a military aircraft to fly with his wife to a party in Burgundy, France. He was cleared of all wrongdoing by a Pentagon inspector general who found that the issues did not amount to misuse of office and instead were due to "poor attention to administrative detail."

Stavridis, who became the dean of Tufts' Fletcher School in 2013, has been critical of Obama at times, including last year when the president didn't attend an event commemorating a terrorist attack in France.

"I wish our American president had gone to Paris to stand with our European allies," Stavridis posted on Twitter.

More recently, he offered a positive outcome of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union. "The one silver lining despite all of the current turmoil, in my view, is the potential to strengthen NATO," he wrote.


Stavridis led global operations at NATO from 2009 to 2013, according to the Tufts website. During that time, Clinton was the secretary of state, and the two worked together from time to time.

A resident of Boston's western suburbs, he's been married for 35 years and has two adult daughters. One works at Google, and the other is an officer in the Navy.

Stavridis was copied on a handful of e-mails that were forwarded to Clinton and were contained on her private server and later turned over to the State Department for review and release. He appeared to be involved with Clinton's Middle East strategy.

Clinton does seem to have some personal relationship with the former admiral. She was set to attend a private, three-hour dinner held in his honor in July 2012, according to a schedule.

And there's some evidence that the two have similar mindsets.

While leading NATO, Stavridis would sign off some of his e-mails with the slogan "Stronger Together" — which is now Clinton's campaign slogan.

James Stavridis, then a US Navy admiral and NATO’s top commander, spoke at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., in October 2012.U.S. Navy

Annie Linskey can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @annielinskey.