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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hillary Vetting Elizabeth Warren for VP

Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: AP)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (photo: AP)

By Laura Meckler and Colleen McCain Nelson, The Wall Street Journal
 
illary Clinton’s campaign isn’t considering primary rival Bernie Sanders as her running mate, but is actively looking at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose populist politics line up closely with Mr. Sanders, people familiar with the process said.

The vetting remains in its early stages. So far, potential candidates have been scrutinized using publicly available information. The Clinton team hasn’t asked anyone to submit tax returns or other personal information, one of the people said.

Conversations with Mrs. Clinton herself about options are just now beginning.

Beyond the Massachusetts senator, other prospective candidates include Labor Secretary Tom Perez; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cory Booker of New Jersey; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Reps. Xavier Becerra of California and Tim Ryan of Ohio, several Democrats said.

Asked Tuesday if she would consider Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton told Telemundo, “I haven’t even begun to sort all that out.” She added, “There are a lot of really qualified, dynamic candidates, I’m sure, to be considered for vice president.”

The search process is being led by John Podesta, the campaign chairman. Longtime Clinton adviser Cheryl Mills also is an informal adviser.

Many Sanders supporters, disappointed by his failure to win the nomination, have held out hope that Mrs. Clinton would pick the Vermont senator in a show of unity and a signal that she will chart a progressive course if elected.

At a board meeting of Friends of the Earth Action last week that included senior Sanders advisers, several board members said Mr. Sanders should receive serious consideration as Mrs. Clinton’s running mate, said Erich Pica, president of the environmental group. Their argument, he said, was that he has brought ideas and energy to the debate.

Larry Cohen, a Sanders adviser who was there, replied that Mr. Sanders would be a “powerful voice” and a major national figure from his Senate perch, Mr. Cohen confirmed.

Mr. Sanders isn’t particularly interested in the job, nor is he expecting to be offered it, though he doesn’t mind being part of the conversation, a senior Sanders adviser said. He sees himself as exercising his strongest influence in the Senate, where his profile is sure to be elevated following his presidential run, the adviser said.

The two camps are now in talks about how to unify the Democratic Party, with the Sanders forces pushing for changes in party rules and installing liberal policies in its platform at the July convention in Philadelphia.

Mr. Sanders plans a video address to supporters Thursday night, but isn’t expected to formally endorse Mrs. Clinton there, an aide said.

Mrs. Clinton’s top priority is finding someone who is prepared to step in as president, she has said. She also is looking for a working partner who can help advance her agenda, and her advisers are less concerned with demographic and geographic factors, people familiar with the process said.

Some Sanders backers are encouraging her to pick someone from the more liberal wing of the party. “I would certainly encourage consideration of Bernie and other folks who represent the progressive side,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), the only senator to back Mr. Sanders during the primary fight. Mr. Merkley also mentioned Ms. Warren and Mr. Brown.

Mrs. Clinton doesn’t feel pressured to go that route, since she already embraced such progressive positions as a large increase in the minimum wage and a plan to guarantee debt-free tuition at public universities, a senior strategist said.

Clinton officials said they’ve been impressed by Ms. Warren’s sharp critique of Republican Donald Trump, and they’ve made a point to highlight her endorsement along with those of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Mr. Brown also appears to be under consideration, although if he were elected, Ohio’s Republican governor would appoint his successor, which could impact control of the Senate. One person familiar with the process said this is a factor in considering him, but said every candidate brings some sort of wrinkle.

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