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Joe Biden narrows down his VP list, with Karen Bass emerging as one of several key contenders

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, during a primary night rally in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The biggest day of the presidential primary calendar will define the nomination fight for Bernie Sanders and Biden and determine whether Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren have a rationale for carrying on their campaigns. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joe Biden heads into the weekend weighing the biggest decision of his presidential campaign so far, and people close to the process tell CNN that the former vice president is believed to have now begun to narrow his personal shortlist of potential running mates to a handful of women.

(CNN)Joe Biden heads into the weekend weighing the biggest decision of his presidential campaign so far, and people close to the process tell CNN that the former vice president is believed to have now begun to narrow his personal shortlist of potential running mates to a handful of women.

In more than two dozen interviews with CNN in recent days, members of Congress, top Democratic donors, Biden allies and others close to the vice presidential vetting process said California Rep. Karen Bass, the 66-year-old chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has gained real traction in the late stage of the search.

Biden's team has yet to tell any of the women they've considered in earnest for the vice presidential role that they are officially out of the running, people familiar with the process said, with one source saying 11 women are still formally being considered.

"I think Karen has been under counted since Day One," said Steve Westly, the former California state controller and major Biden fundraiser, who said he is glad to see both Bass and Harris on Biden's shortlist.

For me, loyalty and friendship should mean something," Chris Dodd, a member of Biden's VP vetting team, reportedly complained to a donor that Harris showed "no remorse" when asked about her famous clash with Biden on the debate stage.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. and Biden supporter Ed Rendell, who said he currently does not have a favorite in the search for a running mate, said in an interview that Bass is seen as a "very safe choice" in a way that Harris simply is not.

The Biden campaign has largely declined to publicly engage the criticism leveled against Harris until this week, when campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon responded to a report that Harris was seen by some as too ambitious.

The Biden campaign has also started building out the team that will staff the future vice presidential pick, a source close to the campaign said, but would not detail who will be involved.

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