A former U.S. senator from Connecticut who was linked to a highly criticized corporate bailout a decade ago and later became a lobbyist for Hollywood movie studios, was among four appointees named Thursday morning to a panel charged with helping presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden select a running mate.
Chris Dodd, 75, a Democrat who chaired the Senate Banking Committee during the nation's financial crisis and also helped craft the Affordable Care Act, widely known as ObamaCare, was named to Biden's Vice Presidential Selection Committee along with three others, according to a statement.
Also named to the panel were U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., who lived in China before returning home and seeking elected office; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Cynthia Hogan, a longtime Biden aide and adviser who helped the Obama administration with its nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Selecting a vice presidential candidate is one of the most important decisions in a presidential campaign and no one knows this more than Joe Biden,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, the candidate’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “These four co-chairs reflect the strength and diversity of our party, and will provide tremendous insight and expertise to what will be a rigorous selection and vetting process. We are grateful for their service to the campaign and for their leadership.”
Biden on March 15 went on the record saying he would select a woman to be his running mate. He made the pledge during a Democratic presidential debate in Washington, D.C., and followed up with a Twitter message soon afterward.
Since then, political watchers have tossed around a list of names of potential Biden picks, such as former presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, as well as former Georgia state lawmaker Stacey Abrams, who ran an unsuccessful race for governor of the state in 2018.
Biden’s VP selection panel includes a mix of the old guard and the new. It includes Dodd, a longtime Senate colleague, as well as a young congresswoman and the mayor of a large U.S. city.
Dodd served in the Senate for 30 years, from 1981 to 2011. He declined to seek reelection in 2010 after being closely associated with a multibillion-dollar bailout of corporations in response to the Great Recession and financial crisis of 2007-09. In addition, Dodd took heat for a discounted VIP mortgage loan he received from a subprime lender and was behind in the polls at the time of his retirement announcement.
After leaving the Senate, Dodd served for more than six years as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, the lobbying arm of Hollywood film studios.
Blunt Rochester, 58, in 2016 became the first African-American and first woman to be elected to Congress from Delaware, and is national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign. A native of Philadelphia, she holds degrees in international relations, urban affairs and public policy.
A widow with three children, Blunt Rochester lived in China when her late husband was working there before the couple returned to the U.S. in 2012, according to Roll Call.
Garcetti, 49, has been mayor of America’s second-largest city since July 2013 and is the son of the late Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles County district attorney who oversaw the costly, failed prosecution of O.J. Simpson in 1995.
The younger Garcetti served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Hogan served as a deputy assistant to former President Obama and counsel to then-Vice President Biden, leading the administration’s effort to seek Senate confirmation for Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. She also served in senior policy roles at Apple and the National Football League, where she helped shape the league’s domestic violence prevention initiatives.
Biden is the Democratic Party’s presumed 2020 presidential nominee, having notched a series of primary victories and drawn endorsements from high-profile members of the party, including former President Barack Obama, 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The nomination will be decided when Democrats hold their quadrennial convention – although the date when that will happen remains uncertain because of the coronavirus outbreak. An in-person convention had been scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee.
This month, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said he still hoped the party would hold an in-person convention sometime this summer but Perez said the party is exploring other possibilities – such as a “virtual convention” held online.