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Stacey Abrams at SXSW. Photo: Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW

Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.

Why it matters: The popular Georgia Democrat, who at age 45 is 31 years younger than Biden, would bring diversity and excitement to the ticket — showing voters, in the words of a close source, that Biden "isn't just another old white guy."

  • But the decision poses considerable risk, and some advisers are flatly opposed. Some have pointed out that in a Democratic debate, he could be asked why no one on the stage would be a worthy running mate.
  • Advisers also know that the move would be perceived as a gimmick.

Biden's position on the issue couldn't be learned — we were just told about the advisers' debate.

  • Biden has discussed selecting a running mate early, a move that one senior Democrat said could hurt him by feeding "an air of inevitability," CNN reported.
  • Biden's office declined to comment.

Abrams met Biden in Washington last week to discuss her next political steps, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

  • Biden requested the lunchtime meeting, per AP.

Abrams narrowly lost her race for Georgia governor last November, but has remained a political star:

  • She delivered Democrats' response to President Trump's State of the Union address in January, and she has been mentioned as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate.

The big picture: The debate shows some lack of confidence among the Biden team about withstanding attacks for being out of step with the times, and for past positions that are now unpopular in the party.

  • The Rev. Al Sharpton, who stays in close touch with the 2020 race, told me the Abrams move could help Biden by mitigating objections to his treatment of Anita Hill during Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation.

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, author of "Presidents of War," said that no successful modern non-incumbent presidential candidate has ever announced a VP choice long before the primary process.

  • "If Biden were to name his running mate long in advance of the Milwaukee convention, it might be very good politics," Beschloss told me. "It also might ultimately provide good government. Voters in the primary process deserve to know as much as possible about the future they are opting for."

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45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

5 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."

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