Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on Wednesday night that she would accept an offer from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to serve as his vice president.
Asked directly by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow if she’d accept the position if Biden offered, Warren gave a one-word answer: “Yes.”
Warren and Biden have clashed ideologically in the past and battled each other for the Democratic nomination for much of the last year, with Warren ultimately finishing third in the delegate count, well behind the victorious Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But Warren endorsed Biden for president earlier in the day Wednesday, not long after Biden adopted a number of Warren’s progressive priorities into his own platform.
“We both want the same thing: We want this country to work, and we want it to work for everyone,” Warren told Maddow. “So I’m in this fight to help in any way I can: to help on the policy front, to help by getting out there and talking about it.”
Warren’s answer indicates the former Harvard Law professor believes she can accomplish more of her agenda, which is focused on fighting corruption and reducing income inequality, as a top official in Biden’s administration than as a member of the Senate pressuring the administration from the outside.
As vice president, Warren ― who was not afraid to criticize the administration of President Barack Obama ― would be sharply limited in her ability to publicly criticize Biden’s decisions.
“At a moment of crisis for our nation, Senator Warren’s ideas will be more important than ever as we chart a path forward,” Biden said in a statement earlier Wednesday after her endorsement. “We know how much work it will take to come through this crisis, and I am proud to have Senator Warren in my corner for the fight ahead — not just as we work to defeat Donald Trump in November, but in the years to come, as we push through a bold and progressive policy agenda for the American people.”
Biden’s public declaration that he would select a woman as his running mate as he challenges Trump and Vice President Mike Pence has helped narrow the list of potential picks. Besides Warren, two other female senators who ran for president ― Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California ― are also considered top contenders for the ticket.
But the list of potential picks also includes several Democrats with slightly lower profiles, including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Warren and Biden, and their respective staffs, have been in regular contact since she dropped out of the race in March. Not long after her exit, Biden adopted her proposal to reverse a bankruptcy law the former vice president had long championed and a plan she helped author to forgive up to $10,000 of student debt per person as part of the government’s response to the coronavirus recession.
Warren originally offered her endorsement to Biden last week after Sanders officially dropped out of the race, with the Biden campaign opting to roll it out after endorsements from Sanders and Obama. Warren also allowed Biden to send a fundraising message on Wednesday to her extensive email list and made a pitch for small-dollar donations to Biden during her Maddow appearance.
“It’s time our government worked harder for the middle class, but to do that we can demand nothing less than ‘big, structural change,’” Biden wrote in the e-mail, echoing Warren’s campaign slogan. “I know, for some of you, that you might be skeptical of me or my campaign. I understand that. But I intend to earn your votes. And I intend to earn your trust.”
Warren does offer a potential bridge to two groups of voters skeptical of Biden: progressives and young voters. But there are significant factors working against her.
The 77-year-old Biden has often said he wants to serve as a bridge to a younger generation of leaders, and Warren is also a septuagenarian. And Biden has often said he would prefer a vice president whom he was ideologically aligned with, at one point saying it would be difficult to pick one who, like Warren, supports “Medicare for All.”
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