ATLANTA – Vice presidential searches make for perhaps the most popular of Washington parlor games: veepstakes.
He'll get plenty of late advice from his closest confidants, politicos like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, and family members including his wife, Jill Biden, and sister, Valerie Owens Biden.
But behind them is the actual vetting team. That group spent three months working behind the scenes to frame Biden's options. They identified possible candidates, interviewed them, quizzed friends and critics, scoured contenders' personal financial records and years of public statements and talked to Democratic power players and activists about their preferences. Then they distilled it into vetting materials Biden is now using as he nears his choice.
Who's setting the stage for Biden's decision:
LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER: The Delaware congresswoman connects the vetting team to Biden's home state. Blunt Rochester, 58, is in her second House term, but she has a long government resume in Wilmington and Washington. She came up through Delaware Sen. Tom Carper’s ranks and gives the Congressional Black Caucus a voice on the search committee. The caucus is a strong source of Biden’s support and a bridge to the Black community that has pushed the former vice president to select a Black woman as his running mate. Though many women of color have surfaced as potential running mates, Blunt Rochester’s name thus far has not. (There is a precedent for top vetters ending up on the ticket: Dick Cheney led George W. Bush's vice-presidential search in 2000.)
CHRIS DODD: The former Connecticut senator has gotten the most attention of Biden’s vetters, and not necessarily for the right reasons.