Congresswoman Karen Bass being vetted to be Biden running mate
Congresswoman Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, is currently being reviewed as a candidate for Joe Biden's companion, CBS News has learned, sources familiar with the process said.
The five-year-old MP represents Los Angeles and approved Biden as president in mid-March.
It's not immediately clear where Bass is in the review process, but her name has been released for testing by powerful Democrats like House Majority Whip James Clyburn. "Karen Bass would be a big plus ... she is a great person in my eyes, I work with her every day," Clyburn told CNN in June when asked about Biden's review process.
Clyburn explicitly cited her previous leadership experience as spokeswoman for the California Assembly, the first African-American woman to run the chamber, as adequate preparation for the White House.
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Her current leadership of the Black Caucus in Congress has become even more important since she recently exposed House Democratic police reforms following the death of George Floyd and nationwide protests for racial equality. "I'm inclined to expand the scope as much as we can because we have a moment now," Bass said in an interview with Major Garrett of CBS News in the podcast "The Takeout" about the police reform proposal.
Bass's review comes as the pressure on Biden increases to select a colored woman to accompany him on the ticket.
In a recent interview with CBS Evening News moderator Norah O'Donnell after meeting Floyd's family in Texas, Biden insisted that recent racist tensions and the spotlight on civil rights were his criteria when choosing of a running mate haven't changed dramatically.
This new review also takes place after Minnesota's senator Amy Klobuchar withdrew her name from the vice president's reasoning and said she directly asked Biden to choose a colored woman.
In her view, Bass told Garrett that "she would certainly like to see a woman" who was selected as Biden's running companion, but added that this was not "mandatory".
Neither Bass' Congress office nor Biden's campaign immediately responded to a request for comment.
Before politics, Bass was a medical assistant in the healthcare sector, a remarkable experience as the country continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the pandemic set in at the end of March, Bass and Biden took part in a livestream event about the problems that medical workers faced on the front of the pandemic.
"I was working in the trauma center at the start of the AIDS epidemic, I remember working without protection, and I remember the fear I was having every day," Bass said in a live stream about her work in Los Angeles. "I know the obligation to save lives, even if that means putting your own life at risk. The nation thanks you for your service."
In 2010, the Congresswoman was honored with the Profile in Courage Award for her bipartisan work on drafting a legislative agreement to deal with the 2009 financial crisis in California. Bass and her colleagues "have set aside party loyalty and ideological differences and have found a solution to save California from financial ruin," said Caroline Kennedy at the award ceremony.
Bass' review takes place as Biden's team of running comrades is anchored in an intensive review of the candidates. This process includes a comprehensive review of documents, public and private records, as well as lengthy written questionnaires and interviews.
Several other colored women are being considered to join the White House ticket. CBS News recently reported that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Representative Val Demings and Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, are now considered more serious than weeks ago for the role. An announcement was previewed around August 1st.
One of the women who help Biden make his decision is Lisa Blunt Rochester, a representative of Delaware. She was honest about how the breed will feed into her considerations.
"If we want to change this country, this is the time ... to recognize the leadership of black women," Blunt Rochester said in a live stream recently. "We are not taken for granted."
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