Mar 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

James Clyburn wants Joe Biden to pick an African American woman for vice president

Harris: Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images. Clyburn: Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images. Abrams: Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter.

Rep. James Clyburn has a list of African American women who are qualified to be vice president, and he told "Axios on HBO" in an interview that there's a "much deeper bench than people realize."

The big picture: Clyburn is widely credited with saving Biden's campaign following his endorsement in the South Carolina Democratic primaries.

"I'll never tell you who I'm going to advise him," Clyburn said in the interview, "but I would advise him that we need to have a woman on the ticket, and I prefer an African American woman."

His list of qualified African American women includes:

  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Rep. Marcia Fudge
  • Rep. Val Demings
  • Former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice
  • Also on his list: Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren

Between the lines: Harris, Fudge, Demings, Bottoms and Rice have all endorsed Biden. Abrams in 2019 warded off reports of the Biden campaign weighing her as an early VP pledge, but she didn't eliminate the idea of joining Biden at a later date.

Go deeper

Joe Biden commits to picking a woman as his running mate

Joe Biden said at the Democratic debate on Sunday night that he will commit to picking a woman to be his vice presidential running mate if he wins the nomination.

What he's saying: "If I'm elected president, my Cabinet, my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I will in fact pick a woman to be vice president. There are a number of women who are qualified to be the president of tomorrow. I would pick a woman to be my vice president."

Joe Biden's secret governing plan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Animation: Nathan Goodell/The Strangeworks

This is a new "Axios on HBO" column on the reality behind the curtain of the powerful, by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen.

Joe Biden confidants are privately discussing potential leaders and Cabinet members for his White House, including the need to name a woman or African American — perhaps both — as vice president, top sources tell "Axios on HBO." 

Why it matters: Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan — a reversal of President Trump's unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him — many from the Obama years.

Kamala Harris endorses Joe Biden

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed Joe Biden for president on Sunday, saying in a tweet that he "has served our country with dignity and we need him now more than ever."

Why it matters: It's yet another endorsement of Biden from a former presidential candidate and an especially significant one considering that Harris' attacks on Biden over his support for busing in the first Democratic debate were viewed at the time as a massive blow.