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Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris debate in Detroit on July 31, 2019. Photo: Paul Sancya

Joe Biden's initial list of possible contenders was roughly 20 governors, senators, congresswomen, mayors and other Democratic stalwarts — young and old; Black, Hispanic, white, Asian; straight and gay, AP reports.

How it works: Harris was among the party's most popular figures, a deft debater and a fundraising juggernaut.

  • Harris' potential downsides were well-known: Her record as a prosecutor in California was already viewed skeptically by some younger Democrats during the primary, and would face even more scrutiny against the backdrop of a national debate over inequality in the criminal justice system.

In one of Harris' conversations with the vetting committee, Chris Dodd — a longtime Biden friend, who served with him in the Senate — asked if she had remorse for her debate stage attack on his busing record.

  • Harris, as she had previously done so publicly, brushed it aside as simply politics. Dodd, a member of the running mate selection committee, was put off and let that be known. The incident was first reported by Politico and confirmed to AP by a person with direct knowledge.
  • The public disclosure of Dodd's comments angered some of the highest-ranking women on Biden's campaign team. Some of Harris' allies mobilized to defend her, including California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who organized a call with Biden's vetting team about two weeks ago to assuage any doubts.

Biden held conversations with 11 women in the final nine days before his pick — a mixture of in-person meetings and video teleconferences:

  • Susan Rice — who had perhaps the closest personal relationship with Biden, because of their White House years — spoke with him twice in recent days.
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois had a formal interview over the weekend, as did Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams.
  • Yesterday, Biden called each of those women — including Sen. Elizabeth Warren — to inform them that they had not been selected.

In some of the conversations, Biden left open an opportunity: Please consider joining me in another role in the administration.

Go deeper

Nov 17, 2020 - World

Biden speaks with Israeli leaders Netanyahu and Rivlin

Biden (L) with Netanyahu in 2010. Photo: Baz Ratner-Pool/Getty Images

President-elect Biden spoke on the phone today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as part of series of congratulatory phone calls with leaders around the world.

The big picture: The order in which these calls are returned by an incoming president is closely watched. Biden called Netanyahu and Rivlin after speaking with the leaders of nine other U.S. allies over the past few days.

Updated Nov 24, 2020 - World

Tracking Biden's first calls to world leaders

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One ritual of becoming president-elect is the carousel of congratulatory phone calls with other world leaders.

What to watch: The order in which the calls are returned is watched closely around the world.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.