Former Vice President and current Democratic 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden wants to pick a woman as his vice president. In an odd move, however, he refused to use their names.
During a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday, a voter asked Biden who he would pick as his vice presidential candidate. Biden said he had at least four women in mind for the position, The New York Post reported, but then failed to name any of them.
“You. Are you available?” Biden initially responded to the woman, as reported by The Des Moines Register.
Biden then said that if he started naming people “the press will think that’s who I picked.” To some extent this is true, as it was suggested that failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was his likely choice since she appeared at his campaign announcement. But during this campaign stop, Biden was about to list four people, which made have led to assumptions about his shortlist, but not to anything definitive. And even beyond that, the speculation would have kept Biden’s name in the news for days as the media talked to the women he named and put forth additional options for him.
Instead, Biden proceeded to stumble through descriptions of the women’s most recent jobs.
“The former assistant attorney general who got fired who was just in Delaware,” Biden said, a reference to Sally Yates, the former Department of Justice official who was fired after refusing to enforce the Trump administration’s order to restrict travel from countries known to sponsor terrorism. Yates was, at the time, The U.S. Attorney General as Trump’s nominee for the position, Jeff Sessions, was going through the confirmation process.
Biden next mentioned “The leader of the, uh, the woman who should’ve been the governor of Georgia, the African American woman.” This is a pretty awkward reference (that would probably be labeled as racist if said by a Republican) to Abrams, who has spent the past year touring the country and refusing to admit that she lost the gubernatorial race in Georgia.
Biden clearly knows her name, yet had to use this particular description for her?
Finally, Biden mentioned “The two senators from the state of New Hampshire,” as potential running mates, clear references to Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen.
Despite Abrams previous failure and refusal to accept the outcome of an election, she is seen as a top vice presidential pick. Earlier this year, she slammed Biden’s alleged offer to make her his running mate by saying “you don’t run for second place.”
In August, however, Abrams changed her tune and said she “would be honored to be considered by any nominee.”
Abrams also previously floated the idea of running for the Senate, but later announced she would not be doing so, nor would she announce her own 2020 presidential run.
Abrams likely has the most name recognition of any of the choices Biden listed, and it is unlikely many of them would boost excitement for his campaign. The move would likely be seen as a calculated attempt at identity politics, which Biden admitted when he simply said he wanted a woman to be his pick, he just has to decide which one.