(Bloomberg) — Michelle Obama has made clear she has no plans to run for office but Joe Biden said Thursday he would ask her to be his running mate “in a heartbeat” if he thought she’d agree to the job.
The former vice president to Barack Obama made the comment in response to a voter’s question about whether he’d choose the former first lady as his vice president. He pointed out that the Obamas have found being out of the White House “somewhat liberating,” suggesting they wouldn’t want to be back in the political spotlight.
Last year, the former first lady said there was “zero chance” she’d run for president, yet commentators and activists often say that her presence on the Democratic ticket in November could guarantee President Donald Trump’s defeat.
An article in the New York Times on Thursday cited a Democratic National Committee member suggesting that Michelle Obama should be the vice-presidential pick to give the party someone to rally around regardless of who the nominee ends up being.
Buttigieg Meets With Black Lawmakers (7:02 p.m.)
Pete Buttigieg met with about 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus Thursday, as polls show the candidate struggling to win African-American support and to expand his coalition in southern states like South Carolina, which holds its party primary Saturday.
Representative Anthony Brown, a Maryland Democrat who has endorsed the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and hosted the get-together, said Buttigieg was “well received and will continue to engage and listen.” Only about a fifth of the caucus participated.
“This morning, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a candid, two-way conversation with members of the Congressional Black Caucus,” Brown said in a statement. “Pete leaned into his record and experience, outlined his vision to uplift communities of color, and shared his strategy to build a broad coalition not only to beat Donald Trump but to govern effectively from day one.”
Buttigieg also met members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, arranged by the group’s political action committee, BOLD PAC. He was the sixth Democratic presidential candidate to sit down with the group.
“The pathway to win the White House runs through the Latino community and the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee will need to make it a priority to engage and message to Latino voters,” the PAC said in a statement after the meeting.
Warren Promises Change to Presidential Clemency (3:13)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that she would seek to give more power to the president to grant clemency and pardons.
Warren said that her administration would remove the process from the Department of Justice and instead create a clemency board that would work directly with the White House to prioritize cases of older individuals who were incarcerated for “unduly long sentences.” If the board decides that those individuals don’t pose a danger to public safety, they’d be granted a presumption of release.
“The president has significant powers to grant clemency and pardons, and historically presidents have used that power broadly,” Warren wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “But today’s hierarchical process at DOJ results in relatively few and conservative clemency recommendations.”
Warren said prison conditions in the U.S. make long sentences “inhumane.” The proposal, which was adopted from a plan offered by former 2020 candidate Cory Booker, comes two days before the primary in South Carolina, where more than half of the Democratic electorate is African American.
SEIU Targets Infrequent Minority Voters (1:35 p.m.)
The Service Employees International Union said it will spend an unprecedented $150 million trying to turn out infrequent minority voters in battleground states on behalf of Democratic candidates.
The union, which has so far held off on endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary, is looking to boost the eventual presidential nominee with a massive canvassing project in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Targets include Filipinos in Las Vegas, Puerto Ricans in Florida and black voters in Detroit and Milwaukee.
Canvassers will attempt to individually contact more than 6 million individual voters, in as many as five different languages. The goal is to reach registered voters who haven’t voted regularly in the past few elections and follow-up regularly until Election Day.
It will build on a similar effort involving tens of millions of dollars that the SEIU mounted in the 2018 midterm elections. — Josh Eidelson and Ryan Teague Beckwith
South Carolina will hold its primary on Saturday, Feb. 29. Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.
(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
–With assistance from Josh Eidelson, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Billy House.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at [email protected], Steve Geimann, John Harney
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