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Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.

The state of play: This is a snapshot of the nearly unanimous read that we get from more than a dozen people close to him.

  • Of course, it comes with a giant asterisk: Only Biden knows for sure, and the more insiders know, the less they say to reporters.
  • He's not expected to announce his choice for another week or so — the Democratic convention begins Aug. 17 — so that reality could certainly change.

What's happening: The campaign is now in methodical mode as it finalizes vetting, looks at internal polling results on potential picks and talks to finalists one-on-one.

  • In third place is Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who had a faltering performance on the Sunday shows after revelations about her past views on Cuba and Scientology.

The case for Harris: Biden’s brain trust — Steve Ricchetti, Mike Donilon and Ted Kaufman — skew older and have deep and trusting relationships with many of the Obama and Clinton veterans who are advocating for Harris.

  • It rests in part on her prosecutorial skills, which could help her attack the Trump administration with discipline.

The case for Rice: Rice is getting a big bounce from Obama people who claim her presence on the ticket would guarantee the enthusiastic presence of both Barack and Michelle Obama on the campaign trail.

  • If the contest comes down to a popularity contest with Obama alumni, Rice has an edge — and Rice allies point to her White House experience.
  • Her team acknowledges Republicans will trot out her early misstatements about the Benghazi attacks that were based on incomplete intelligence she'd been given, and she wants to defuse that by bringing it up herself.

Go deeper

Obama: McCain's Palin pick shifted U.S. politics "in a direction he abhorred"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama writes about the ideological shift in the Republican Party following his election in 2008 in the first volume of his new, 768-page memoir, according to a copy of the book obtained by CNN.

Driving the news: In the book, titled A Promised Land, Obama says the shift in the Republican Party can be traced to when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate during the 2008 campaign. Her elevation to the Republican presidential ticket "would provide a template for future politicians, shifting [McCain's] party's center and the country's politics overall in a direction he abhorred."

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.

Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Many private businesses and some states are plowing ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Many businesses view some sort of vaccine verification system as key to getting back to normal. But in the absence of federal leadership, a confusing patchwork approach is likely to pop up.