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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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Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

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