Former Vice President Joe Biden said he’s aiming to start vetting potential running mates next month – and that he will likely start with a list of around 11 potential candidates.
The all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee – in an appearance Tuesday on "The View" – said, “There's about 12 to 15 women who I think would be qualified to be president tomorrow, but I think we're going to narrow the list down to about 11.”
Biden pledged at a Democratic primary debate a week and a half ago to name a female vice presidential nominee.
"The lawyers are putting together what will be the nature of the vetting process. It's got to be thorough, which it would be, and we're looking at when to start sooner than later,” Biden shared.
Biden added, “I just need to make sure whomever I pick … that that person is simpatico with where I want to take the nation in terms of domestic and foreign policy and I think there are a number of women who are in the category.”
And he confirmed that he’s had a conversation with his onetime boss former President Barack Obama about the vetting process. After clinching the Democratic nomination in 2008, Obama named then-Sen. Biden of Delaware, a former primary rival, as his running mate.
In an interview with CNN later on Tuesday, Biden added that he hopes to start the vetting process sometime in April and that he had not had any conversations to date with any of the potential contenders.
Don't cancel the party -- yet
The presumptive Democratic nominee – as of now – wants this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wis., to go on as planned.
Asked in the CNN interview if the convention should be called off because of the coronavirus pandemic, Biden responded, “I don’t think so. I think we order be able to conduct our democratic processes as well as deal with this issue.”
“We can't let the democratic process be interrupted by the process of dealing with this virus. We can do both,” he emphasized.
But Biden added that any decision to call off or alter the national nominating convention will made depending on “the state of the nation at the moment” and “on the circumstance that exists” closer to the summer.
Democratic National Committee officials told Fox News last week that they were moving ahead with planning but that “this is obviously a fluid situation.”
The Democratic convention is scheduled for July 13-16. The Republican National Convention is scheduled to be held Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, N.C.
On the other line
Biden said on Tuesday that he hasn’t talked directly with nomination rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“I have not has any personal conversations with him. My staff and his staff have had discussions.”
One week ago the former vice president swept primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, cementing his position as the all-but-certain nominee and all but closing Sanders’ narrow pathway to the White House. Sanders is now reassessing his campaign.
“It’s not for me to tell him to drop out. They can make that judgement for themselves. It’s up to Bernie to what he wants to do,” Biden explained.
But making a pitch for the support of Sanders and his legions of young and progressive voters, Biden needs to unify the party and emphasized that “I hope at the end of the day no matter what happens we’re all together. That we don’t have a little bit of what we had last time, where some people stayed home. Bernie and I have always gotten along real well. I have nothing but respect for him….I hear what some of his supporters are saying and I’m prepared to and I’ve moved on some of it.”
While he hasn’t chatted with Sanders, Biden said he has talked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who ended her White House bid earlier this month.
“I’ve been talking with Elizabeth Warren, who is as you know bright as can be and committed. I’ve adopted some of the things that she suggested, the new bankruptcy bill that she has, which is the way to fix the problems were broken,” Biden said on ABC's "The View."
Two weeks ago Biden embraced the progressive senator’s signature proposal to reform bankruptcy rules, bringing to an end a decade and a half old feud between the two over the issue.
Easter egg-scuse me!
Biden strongly disagrees with President Trump’s call to restart the economy by Easter by easing stay-at-home restrictions now in place in many states from coast to coast.
During a Fox News virtual town hall on Tuesday, the president said that he wants the country’s economy re-opened by Easter amid questions over how long people should stay home and businesses should remain closed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking from the Rose Garden alongside others on his coronavirus task force, Trump said he "would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter." The holiday this year lands on April 12.
“We have to get back to work,” Trump stressed.
Trump’s push comes as the death toll and number of people infected by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has surged over the past week. More than half the nation’s population is now under shelter-at-home orders mandated by states.
“He should stop talking and start to listen to the medical experts,” Biden emphasized in his CNN interview.
“Watch this spike. Watch the number of dead go up,” he warned.
And on "The View" Biden urged, “We’ve got to flatten that curve and we’ve got to make sure that once in fact we have this under control, it doesn’t come back,” and said as he disagrees with a suggestion from President Trump to restart the economy by easing stay at home restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now we’re catching up and I think it’s important to continue the road we’re on,” he stressed.
Biden stands at 48 percent support among registered voters nationwide in a Monmouth University poll, with the GOP incumbent at 45 percent. Biden’s slight 3-point edge over Trump is within the poll’s sampling error, meaning the race is roughly tied between the two candidates.
Fox News' Madeleine Rivera and Allie Raffa contributed to this report.