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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.

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