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How Joe Biden Chose Kamala Harris as VP

  • August 14, 2020

The potential for conflict between Biden and Harris advisers was resolved in another way, at least for now: Mr. Biden and his advisers conveyed to Ms. Harris that they expected to have the same understanding with respect to staff hiring that Mr. Biden had followed with former President Barack Obama. During the campaign and, if they win, during a Biden-Harris administration, Ms. Harris’s staff hiring would be approved by Mr. Biden.

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, told Ms. Harris plainly after she was picked that they would be one team, and that she would have the full support of the Biden staff. In a statement Thursday night, after this story was published online, Ms. O’Malley Dillon said some Harris aides would be coming on board.

“We’ve already begun welcoming members of Senator Harris’ team to the campaign and are all moving forward together, as one unit focused on beating Donald Trump this fall,” Ms. O’Malley Dillon said.

But other Biden advisers made clear that selecting Ms. Harris for the vice presidency did not mean selecting her full political entourage for jobs in the campaign or government — a reality Ms. Harris is said to have accepted.

Within the Biden team, it was understood that rule would apply even to her sister, Maya Harris, a former Hillary Clinton adviser who is Kamala Harris’s closest confidante. But a Biden spokesman said on Thursday night that the matter of Maya Harris did not come up in conversations with the senator.

Having been through a vice-presidential search himself, Mr. Biden was clear from the start about what he wanted in a running mate — and in a selection process. He wanted a full partner in government with whom he felt personally “simpatico.” He did not want a “Survivor”-style process of elimination whereby a large pool of candidates would be gradually slashed down, with the losers identified as such in public, according to people who spoke to him about the process.

And for the most part, that is what Mr. Biden got — a discreet search team, led by four Democratic dignitaries, that held interviews with about a dozen women, a smaller number of whom were then asked to turn over a huge volume of private documents for review. To ensure the contenders’ privacy, he did not allow even his senior staff members to see some of their most personal vetting information.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/us/politics/biden-harris.html

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