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That's the Ticket Episode 1: Vet on It


In the first episode of this three part mini-series, Dan Pfeiffer and Alyssa Mastromonaco break down the vetting for vice presidential candidates - how it happens, why it's so secret, and what can go wrong. They'll talk you through the history of the vetting process, their experiences on the Kerry and Obama campaigns, and how they think the Biden campaign is approaching the process.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to that's the ticket. A three part positive miracle bonus serious about the vice presidential selection process. I'm dyin Pfeiffer analysed the This positive everybody series is about the process, how it's going to happen. Giants and run it. What is happening behind the scenes? We, I don't know who Joe Biden should pet. We don't know who is going to pack so we're not tell you what everyone try to help you much like Tommy did in his eye, was series understand exactly what this happened in behind the scenes in this very secretive process, when it's going to cost much a part of the selection, you dont Buddy Buddy, so to see you,
before we get this episode taco about. Why? Why we're doing this I'll? Give you my answer when he would, you have to say my primary reason is just generally looking for more ways at you, and I can work other areas that are best work. I think when our offices were across the hall over many years in the white House- and so it's very good at this and if I was gonna talk about the vice presidential selection process with anyone, it would be you just because we're very good friends because you may be the world's living foremost export on how the process works. You have run this process for John Kerry. When you picture Edwards, we will not hold that selection against you, you process when brought Obama picture Biden, we'll give you full credit for that one, but we also do this because, as we try on our Party America, before there are five moments, that matter and presidential campaign, the commission speech the three debates in the vice presidential selection. Now, in this very strange
pandemic related campaign that ran the convention's gotta, be different and maybe diminished, who the F down trumps and to show up for any debates, it's hard to find the moderators that he can agree on not only Joe going to create a tougher Karlsson, Janine, Pierrot John Entity and so for the single most important moment. Maybe the vice presidential election and some people have said that maybe the most important vice presidential selection in history. Do you agree and if so, why? Well? First, I just have to go back to the beginning and say that people don't understand how many years spent in proximity to each other. But what they also don't know is that I was routinely caught barefoot in your office by President Barack Obama, because I get Hotfoot and I used to walk over to your office with no shoes on, because that's just how I am and Also we're doing this, because I think it is one of the most interesting things that happens in a presidential campaign and also
and they get so kind of like bogged down with pundit tree, which we are obviously not that people sort of. I dont remember some of the historical context way things have been done and sort of how things have changed. So to your question, though, yes, I think this is probably the most important VP pic. I can remember, because Joe Biden is on the older side. You know he's on the old end of the spectrum at seventy seven. He has to unite a party or Ilsa. Eighty is the new seventy one. I keep telling everyone forty horse, the new Twenty AIDS Hall. I completely agree with that people. It doesn't change the state of my gray, hair though so some things are just back so yeah I mean he also lets. Let's be clear, its also super important because Joe Biden straight up said he is going to pick a woman which is a big deal
for many reasons, but also now it's it's. You know you have to make the point that not all women are the same. So he has a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks, I think this is a really interesting vice presidential pack, because, as you said, his pack will be the third woman to ever be on the ticket substantial. Vice president, he has built himself as a bridge to the future of the party who had so the person he fax is not just going to be the governing partner to seventy seven year old President veto, as if he has elected it, will also be potentially the next standard bearer of his party will set in ruptured about where the party is going, you know. Interestingly, Joe Biden has been somewhat coy about whether he would run for real action, and so, if he were to not do that, the odds on favorite from the day Joe Biden is like the president to be the democratic dominate two thousand and twenty four, which seems like a hundred years from now,
we'll be dispersed, and so this is a matter of a massively consequential pick into your point. I think it is the the most disgusting least understood partner, presidential politics it this, be the obsession of the political press corps and podcast like ourselves like put the american hysteria for the next. Many months, but most of the people talking about writing about its reading about a passing about it, don't understand about how the process actually works, because it is so shrouded in secrecy. So, in this episode we want to dig into two parts of that process that I think will help give people inside view of how the binding campaign will go about running this process and making decision part one is very reticent to talk about all the time who is being. There who's not being, but I want to talk about what it means and how it happens in the second part is the secrecy. Why is this process kept shrouded in secrecy and what are the campaigns do too?
ensure that Stacy for it and that's one of the very particular points expertise you bring to this because you ran the processes to ensure they. Both John Kerry Ambrosch Obama's processes happened it under the cloak of darkness I'm pretty amazing tricks too, that we will talk about to ensure that that happen. I had a real worms. Ideal say that's a very specific and clever animal reference US. Thank you so far with getting so once a candidate narrows down their list, the campaign against an intense vetting process. Let's start by talking about what that process looks like whose conducting in what does it mean for the people who were on the quota list shore, so I think that from most candidates, let's say a John Kerry Brok Obama, Joe Biden. They have
idea of the kind of person that they want right, and so I think that, for the purposes of time, you have a pretty broad list, so I think most candidates probably start with a list. That's probably close to ten to fifteen. You dont want I believe that many people, but you want to see sort of what are your options? What's interesting and you know sure everybody has their outside the box. You know two or three people that would be. You know interesting in Bosnia newsworthy, so you have those folks you do sort of like you have a team. That's led, usually by some very serious lawyers who don't do that anything lightly and a team of advisers that actually you know for the purposes of secrecy, do run it sort of separate from the actual campaign. Like you'll. Remember whether it was you know before Mary Beth K, health, who is the campaign manager to John Kerry, brought me into the process or Caroline Kennedy who was running the process
us I had and none of us you and I we had really know insight or visibility into the beginning of the process, the bigger the bigger list that was ultimately called down. So then, these doing some research. What have people written about in law, school or college? What have they written about in newspapers? What have they in speeches, I'm sort of any sort of publicly available information. Ultimately, some people get disqualified in this part of the process. Then there is for our and and also let me stipulate anyone listening. We everything I The ever done was basically pre real internet. So we, did like encryption and all that stuff everything we did was weather for John Kerry or Barack Obama were binders of information that were researched and presented to the candidate. They go through the books. They're like this person, maybe not so much these people. Let's see more,
and then you get down to a smaller list and that list goes into a heavier more intensive vetting process, which can include things like a questionnaire which most people got, which can be anywhere from fifty to like a hundred and fifty questions that people answer, which then helps the lawyers dig deeper. Into what they should be doing. Research on deeper questions. They should ask you know everything from: have you pager taxes to have you downloaded porn to do you have children, you don't know bout? I mean all kinds of things are asked of people, so it's pretty like anyone getting into the process has to know it's pretty invasive, and I think that you know over the years there are times comes when you know it's like issues now something that review and I were not real, worried about in two thousand and eight or certainly mean two thousand for was people's social media.
Profiles what people had sat or posted on that was not something that we had to research so, on the one hand, there's a lot more that people can do to shoot themselves in the foot by what they put on social media, but social media also makes it a lot easier to find things like articles that may have been written when they were in law, school or dissertations, or anything like that. So as you, u referenced Brok Obama's committee when he was speaking Joe Biden was run by a group of people by holding Caroline Kennedy yet and airport, or oh right, Eric holding this and the people in Europeans committee. It's a mix of people, including former Centre crystal whose a close personal friend of your by Serbia for many years, Congresswoman LISA, Blunt Rochester, who's, the congresswoman from Delaware, the mayor of L, a heroic our city and Cynthia Hogan, who is a long time aid to Joe Biden, both in the Senate and the vice presidency, and there, the chairs of the committee and, as you point out, there are two parts of this process
there is no longer a list and then there's the short list and we were able to discover in some ways who's on the short list, because in one way in which the media has gotten priests savvy about this in recent years, as they nodes now to ask people who may be on the short list, a very specific and direct question, which is how do you agree to be that it because You actually have to decide whether you want to be considered for vice president, because, as you point out, you have to fill out this deeply invasive questioner. You have to hand over you know, ten to fifteen years of tax records U S a hand over personal writings. You may have right, which, in this day and age, may be some archive of your tweets or blog posts that merit that exists somewhere on the internet, even if their hunter define LOL review articles. Were you a columnist for local paper in a famously
Florida, Governor Bob, Graham who was considered for vice president three times and Niger, ninety by Bill Clinton by Al Gore and two thousand, and then by January, two thousand and four Bob Gram used to take detailed notes of every single thing he did every day. Yeah like what he had for line. Should we met with what shoes he very detailed, so he had literally rooms full of diaries that veteran attorneys would go through to see if there is anything in there. No one here to in their like exiles, Emmett for lunch bribery scheme in the afternoon. I was there for ever:
hoarding session of the diary, when I was alone in a room with him- and God is my witness- he asked for the spelling of my name because Ellis is complicated and we think he put the chinese food menu in there that we ordered from because John Kerry was very late and he ordered food, and then he put it in his little journal so that that's an example of the the detail by which this process is in a rigorous and you have teams of attorneys right in its birth.
The Chinese who we know the steps of people who also that Supreme Court nominees and they work with people who for confirmation for cabin a person alike, but also forensic financial accountants, who can go through their taxes to see if they do not pay their taxes appropriately. Did they take some deduction that may be legal, but would look very bad politically could run up against the other policies of the nominee, those sorts of things, the other thing that actually was a big deal if it if you are a lawyer they would go through all the clients you ever represented there right in so incredibly deserve help. Our listeners understand what it is they are looking for like what would be disqualifying per se. The really big ones are, you know, have you in anything that is really sort of radical something. That's you know not
stain of all in the modern era, you know some people when they were vetted or older. You know, and if we look at some one who was a colleague like Of Senator Obama's, when he was in the Senate, like Senator Bird, I mean he's, had a real arc of Trans. Formation over his career. The number thing is: is there anything in someone's history that is not defensible right? It's like people have all sorts of complicated things, but like is there something that if it comes up, you literally can't get behind so paying taxes? Obviously a big one. You know their spouse, like people forget their spouse, their kids. They are all part of the equation if the spouse of whoever, though it the person under consideration is has had clients, they get looked at their writings get looked at because it's a real. It is a package when you are nominated, it's you and your entire family. Those with a big things like is this person, a good person. You know, is what they're telling me backed up
The facts which you know in some cases we ve seen vice presidents who ve been selected in the in the past too. You know there was like A bit of disconnect between may be perhaps what they said and what ultimately, the press found because you want to know everything before the New York Times does. I think that is the key point which is, as they particulate an era where you some like Donald Trump. As president, a lot of the previous things that might have been disqualifying may seem less corner quote disqualifying in this area, but what they campaign desperately does not want to be surprised wrecked. There can be all sorts of problems in someone's passed, but if there is a good explanation, that campaign can prepare their defence for it in advance than they are ok, but because there is no perfect person, like my lab people's views of evolved over time
there. They have said done things. They have your maybe mess up their taxes or had a family member who did something problematic. But as long as the campaign is ready for it, then they feel ok. But I think. I think there are two historical examples. Worthy vetting process did not work that I think help illustrate what it is that the buyer campaigns can we looking for us. They look at the short list. And so in a second we'll get the Sarah Palin who most of you may remember from her time on this he became campaign. I live in reality, television and the like. But there's another example. Sort of began the modern vetting error, which is an eighteen. Seventy two, when George Mcgovern was running against Richard Nixon. He picked Missouri Senator Thomas Eagles. To be his nominate and eighteen days
is, after that announcement eagles dropped off the ticket because it was discovered that he during the sixties had undergone shock therapy and other treatments for depression and other conditions. I think we have a clip of Eagle Tense press conference. When you dropped out. Ladies and gentlemen, I will not divide the Democratic Party, which already has too many division or to Morrow morning. I will write to the chairman of the Democratic Party withdrawing my candidacy, My personal feelings are secondary to the necessity to unify the Democratic Party until that George Mcgovern It is the next president of the United States, and I think this one is fascinating both first, let me ask you in the modern era where we are right now, someone having gone through depression and seeking to remove or would certainly not be disqualifying tracks. Now now I can imagine that one
but it does go to surprise right, like obviously the world is changed since one thousand nine hundred and seventy two. But what was the big problem from the govern campaign was that they didn't know care for it. And it's interesting how that process was backing of accurate. The histories of witches Mcgovern was a huge under darting x and everyone thought Nixon was gonna crews to re election and there or Mcgovern was really struggling to get some degree to be, as vice president, he tried very hard to get TAT Kennedy to do it ten Kennedy had his eyes on another, more winterbourne, action in the future that he hoped to run in he negotiate with the mayor of Boston, Kevin White got Kevin White to finally agree and then had to dump Kevin White because it was gonna cause a revolt among his supporters in Massachusetts, Kevin supported, Muskie in election, and so he went down and out now listen ended up with Thomas Eagle DIN and
they didn't Gary hard to future presidential candidate centre from Colorado was Mcgovern's campaign manager and he later emitted. They did basically no background check and so Eagle tin began. The modern vetting era, but it is an example of the dangers of not having presented with our European, which really trying to avoid is Thomas equal to right right and you know for him. I think that thing is, I mean, could ultimately they die the vetting team. Gary heart, they ended up speaking with his psychiatrist. You know the date they, shut up. I also can imagine a world in which I would ever lead if I were being vetted. Someone talk to my doctor, but that's a whole other thing, but no, he and you know back there, There really clear when you read back about it that back then people took people at their word. You know your word was your. Was your calling card? It was your Bonn, and so you know, but yeah they were pretty clear- that even back then like most of the other people who were vetted too
like weren't, really that it they were sort of like a cursory overview like have they murdered anybody and they were elected office, and I think that back then you know, especially especially back then that being an elected office kind of meant. You were ready that it? You know, and I think that we assume that to you now on the scale of zero, to a hundred, I think, being a current elect an official probably now gets you'd like fifty percent right, but there's maybe fifty percent of, what's really about you has been discovered, but there's probably, still a lot more for better or worse that people need to bring forward to make sure that, like you said, if there is an issue, that's not disqualifying, it can be disqualifying if you don't get out in front of it. You raise a really interesting point
in the conversation about vetting right when you hear pundits talking about like pros and cons for various people who may be on show by shortlist oftentimes, and they talk about people like Elizabeth, worn, are commonly Harris who have been in NASH no politics as they ran for president you here, one of the arguments of people saying is they ve been right right compared? someone like a sea Abrams or maybe a timid, Baldwin or casualness bottoms, whoever might be, this list of those people who have not face the scrutiny ever present, election, while certainly there is tremendous ringing presidential election that analysis that running for president in primary equates vetting think is a dramatic misunderstand right: how in depth the vetting processes and much greater. The scrutiny is when you are running to be one heartbeat away from the presidency right so frank like
one of those people released tax returns, I think, is both warrant and Harris and others did nothing nearer the set of personal and private papers that you know, I presume, have already been given to the Biden campaign by the people who are actively being considered well and also just look at someone like Canada, Harris and Amy closure. They were prosecutors and so For yes, they had a history. Yes, they had cases in their past, but now there is someone going through a fine tooth comb with things that they have decided policies that they have made to make sure that there is not something that can be. You know brought up and used against or at least that they understand sort of the history or You know environment around some of the decisions they might have made its worth, noting that the people who have run for present have somewhere in their files. Deeply personal formation about others? Rightly somewhere
Romney, has a questionnaire from a marker, Rubio, Paul Ryan Woloda information right. So it is not about that. Many wishes This is actually a lot of people, particularly in a tough. What looks like it may be. A tough election decide not to be valid right, there's always a chance that information leaks out or you're in a situation where you're on the short list and then you're not which can lead to a lot of scrutiny as to why that may be when you're in a race like this one, where we know I think you're mine was down and set it up in the polls right now then I think a lot of people would be more reticent to get in the process. Speak. Right, and so there is so much exposure like their number republican to refuse to join that Romney's process. For this reason, in two thousand and twelve the eagle to challenge, but let's talk about payment for sectors, the pale and varying is yes, perhaps Most famous failure in mountainous regions, was ironic old in a movie.
It was so bad. There was an HBO movie about it with Julia. Wars Julian more, who played Sarah Palin, who, I believe, one a golden globe for her portrayal of Sarah Palin. She was ridiculously uninformed about just about everything and became easily suitable. You may remember this line. You know Ryan. I do agree on everything. Thing. I believe that diplomacy should be. Cornerstone of any foreign policy and I can see share from my house, so when you begin the voting process, one of your goal should be like, ass the Eagles and jets, what as they should make it more than eighteen days, if you really want to pass the pilot S, will have when it's over it didn't. Oh up in your face, so bad that HBO wants to make a movie about itself have,
but about the pale and process and what you think, what wrong they're. So, ok, so bull level sat that John Mccain wanted to pick Joe Liebermann like that is who he wanted to be his running mate and his advisers thought that was a catastrophic idea, as Joe Liebermann was a pro choice, independent at the time through generally? terrible unwholesome other issues to be clear. Yes and his advisers, This is it her obliging and they went for and like you and I have talked about like they went for outside the box right they went for, let's make noise, you know they. They have. This war,
we look when you describe her, I mean when they announced are we were, like God made, I hope or not, fucked. I think if she had a great first couple of days out of the gate, I mean she was dynamic. She's charismatic, she was, as you know, we didn't know the back story at the time. She's a good public speaker. But what happened? Is they did an accelerated vat, because she, was not, as I think we have come to understand in the initial trove of people who were deeply vetted. And she was done on an accelerated schedule, I'm they miss things that were Literally malpractice, I mean the fact that she had said that she was a date. They thought she was against the bridge to know where she was not against abridged. Nowhere that she was being investigated for firing Whoever that person wasn't what Zella fit. The thicket thought with some sort of paid a play situation, its unclear, whether the
actually knew that her seventeen year old daughter was pregnant when they did this. They said that that that Mccain knew at the time, but they acted a bit surprised when the press started talking about it and basically they went for style over substance and what they realized quickly after she was selected, is that they had not pressed her on any of her policy positions about what she actually thought about her her things that we would consider so fundamental, but, like she's going to be vice president, they had no understanding of what she believed about foreign policy. Most kinds of domestic policy like if she understood sort of the world's at all as it worked so they underestimated the press in a very big way and I think they underestimated sort of the pass or over estimated rapid
pass that they thought maybe Mccain would get, because he is obviously such a you know distinguished public servant, but no they went fast and hard and loose, and you know Mccain, didn't know her at all and only met with her for a brief period before she was announced. So even he didn't like no He had a real sense. I think no one could stand up and explain you know in fifteen minutes or less who she was and what she said for other than that she was the governor of Alaska and she had a fight land, she was a hockey mom other than that they really didn't know much when they sent her out on that stage. That's a great rendition to the next month, or so we think about right there is the like. So we talked originally about sort of the public record search from the team of wires working out. Then there is the in depth investigation, peace that involves the personal records, the tax returns, etc. And then that's part is an interview. Processes
right and so that interview process includes obviously attorneys at the beginning who ass follow up questions to these very invasive questions like that, you mentioned, have you ever downloaded porn, which is a question directly from the Mccain question air from two thousand and eight, and I would say the process ends and an interview with the nominated in this case turbine. What are they? it happened in the middle of that process, so one they sit down with the vetting, attorneys and whoever's running the process. Let's use Caroline Kennedy as an example: they get a sense of their interests in the process. I mean it's, not something you ve Maelstrom and I, like you, wanna, be considered, so they get a sense of their lady. I repay your thumbs up unless you want to go to problem and then they sit with the lawyers. They go through lawyers, they usually also
have a personal attorney. That's involved that helps get the documents together for them and get them to the attorneys, and then you usually would have one or two people who are very close to whoever the not is, and by nominee I mean like Barack Obama, John Carrier, George Bush, who meets with them and says like ok, let's talk a little bit more, let's get a little bit more into sort of who you are what you stand for, what kind of relationship you would be looking for with the candidate? If you did this and then people sort of have an assessment and either verbally, like in a small group meeting or the binder, which
someone gets on a plane and takes to wherever the candidate is the candidates like? Ok, let's narrow this less down- and you know even fewer people, so that my guess would be than from my experience is that most democratic nominees were running for president end up meeting with between I'd, say like four to eight candidates for vice president total and then, after that it gets sort of again further. Hold down to probably two or three and then sometimes there is an additional meeting, and then those people continue to meet with the lawyers and the people running search committee and then you Billy there, there's like a final conversation with the presidential candidate and their finalists So do you remember how many people that Obama my carry each met with, I believe
John Kerry met with about six or seven, and I was therefore all but one and I believe Barack Obama total met with three of the three of my research in this area and the people who meet with potential. Vice president, on behalf of the candidate, who were those people for carrion Obama, just a few people. Some sense of- So I closed the person is to get that for President Obama. It was other than the actual immediate betting team. It was David Axelrod, India, but Bluff and for John Kerry. You know I'm hot I've thought about this and I think it was maybe just married F K Hill, who was the campaign Monsieur I dont know that anybody who wasn't an immediate member of the vetting team met with them other than her, but I'd have to double check with her. Between working from home, managing kids school work, she
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it's so interesting about this is it speaks to how shrouded in secrecy this process really is where it has been talked about, reported our written about by some one every day of the constant topic of pocket in twitter, but no one has any idea. These things are happening. You sort of no the broad short list of people, but in some of that, isn't even anyone ever told you was just. There is a list of people who are obvious choices in four by that was even easier to identify, because he made a very clear if you pledged to pick a woman so because politics as it is you just lopped off like seventy percent of democratic politicians right and then you find out as we mentioned, which people are being that it if they showed up at the wrong people set at the wrong time and got asked the question and then you know nothing else into a close to the end of the process and it is incredibly important
to the campaigns to keep this process secret right, and I think there are two parts of the secrecy that go into. One is the secrecy of the decision making process and then the secrecy of the decision, its once it's made and how you keep that cigarette but like, as you mentioned, there's a million moving pieces. Here. You have very prominent people recognisable to any rapporteur, the entire country and allow the public doing. Meetings with vetting attorneys during meetings with presidential candidates are being followed at least a normal world by a plane full of reporters fact. You have political advisers like Mary Beth, like acts around like platform, can I say to every reporter in America being with candidates, it was your job for carry Ando bomber to make sure that process habit in secret. You talk about some of the specific, not though I want a sort of put all of the binding giving its business
on the street. Here by members of the specific things you did two inch, that John Kerry and brought about my got to conduct the process in secret gas. So well. One thing to remember is that, like. I feel like the process was always like it. Wasn't it out in the open thing, but it wasn't as guarded. I think, as it was until John Kerry, because remember and you work for Al Gore, so I'm sure you'll remember that Al Gore wanted to make a splash with his announcement, and so his team was actually leaking. As I remember, how did it was looking like John Kerry, and I know this because I had started working for John Kerry in his Boston office, and so this is actually how I developed my secrecy relationship with him, because he was being valid in some of the things that they wanted from him would go through me and then he was very. I forgot you ve, worked on this and three way: yeah for two novelties begging, someone an someone who
the runner on who is to- and you know the thing is, is that I have real feeling like people can think you know that perception is that John Carriers- Aloof, that's so be it, but I've seen him in so many ways. That is absolutely not my perception of him, but he was as I will use my words, I am not sure that he would say this, but it was. It was like a public humiliation. You know he was put out there as like the person who was gonna, get picked and then he'd wasn't packed and that's stung. Now, I think that that really stung and so fast forward a couple years when he is looking for a vice president, he was adamant that the person who is sort of arranged all these meetings with me, because he thought that I really understood what he would want and that he wanted all of these people who are being considered to be treated, as I think he hoped he would have been in two thousand, and so the John Kerry
We all know that Brok, O bomber, is a much more simple person. He does not like complications, so we dealt with three people with with black or Burma, but with John Kerry I definitely left the headquarters of our campaign for like two or three weeks and lived in random cities are whom a country setting up These meetings for him and other people, and so on in every single person that he was meeting with, I arranged for them to most likely get in the night before they were in the hotel room before the press. Ever arrived, so press wouldn't see people coming and going Everyone was told to wear like nondescript clothing, we'll get back to that Joe Biden. I have words for him as part of the process and we met with them and just like very unusual places, except for one person that was so obvious it people were like this can't be, and the truth is that, because
John Kerry was so clear about how secret he wanted the process to be that reporters became utterly rabid about trying figure out who he was meeting with and where to the point that, because, People will remember that John Kerry had some dental worked on before the convention, which required several hours at his dentists office and people were convinced. Reporters were convinced, that the meetings were happening at doctor Stars office and they would start like stock king, the dentist office to see if people were coming in and out, cell, which I think is completely related to the fact that having for a long period of time in the sopranos Tony soprano met with people in his doctors, office goes, as were the FBI buck him. So I said I think that this is a David Chase, specific problem that the press was following. Why cod and Sopranos a little later, that's entirely possible. So my favorite story of all.
Also again like I said, I stayed in random motels. I would meet with these people, and the thing is most people who are being considered will do whatever you tell them to do like they will meet you in me. You know, sir, floor in the back right hand corner of a parking garage. If you tell them to do that, someone actually did that What will you say do know he's a very nice man. I don't want it. Do that, but he was very obedience, then some people- who are just so full of hubris that you want a text. Your boss and be like. You cannot pick this person, they are such a dick to people who work for them and one of those people who is a real deck. Actually, this was the biggest prank of all time played on me, John Kerry, was meeting with someone secretly. I was with the person who kept telling me to go, get them coffee, fine, had to have a saucer and a mug. Ok, and this person have like a flash.
Problem, and it was really overwhelming in the room still John Kerry had arrived, and I went to tell the secret service officer, whose name I remembered its Bob slam on. I hope your listing I was like Bob. We have a problem like the whom stinks and his equal. You better tell John Kerry and I would like I don't want to know when he's like you, ve gotta tell him. So I told John Kerry, who took the news like a champ because it turns out he has a very diminished sense of smell, which the secret service new and I did not and so is very embarrassing. But you know it's junkies granted took like chapters one and by four carry I mean an and the also John Kerry, unlike Bronco Obama, he would run late. So I spent a lot of time with these people, like one
Tom Vilsack, the nicest man you will ever meet John Kerry met with Vilsack. He met with Bob Graham, and then you know what the Carrie once were. Just I mean it's been reported, but the meeting with John Edwards was just like bananas. We went to such extremes that Madeleine Albright helped us broker the meeting cuz. They all lived in Georgetown and I had to sneak them both in and and John Edwards. Also like very amenable, I was like wear a baseball hat, come in the back door, you know all that kind of stuff and I fell asleep. While they were meeting watching footloose, I M Madeleine Albright, Couch and John Kerry. To wake me up and he was like how do we get out of here and I once again took it like a champ he's like Alice. I I I wake up. You got wake up. How do we get out of here so again super good sport about the whole thing? Bravo,
a far fewer people. We only set up three meetings at that point because people it had become such a sport for people to try to Hu John Kerry was picking. We knew that it was going to be even worse than two thousand eight, so we had code names. See one c two and see three for the three people that brocklebridge it was going to meet with. I had an for the people who the three people were TIM King, Senator firm for Jeanette, Joe Biden and even by former centre from India, correct and Evan by one of those people who, I thought was very aloof. Super on,
programme about following all of our instructions, to the tea, and when I say our it was me and Molly Buford, because you will remember that for us, the vetting team in two thousand, it was actually based in DC and so Molly did a lot of the paper. Work, not paperwork, but she was sort of one end of the process and I was the other, but Evan by was leaving to meet Barack Obama from DC and so she's. The one who picked him up and took him to the airport and we know that our friend David Bluff is very cheap. He likes to nowhere. Every single dollar is going. So when he's like look, you have to do this. I wanted to do this as like. That's fine but like I'm, gonna need some private planes and hump event need so like. If you want this done right, we can't skimp and he was like. Ok, fine, a vote. Let slip on the private playing for gas is, I think, that's important respective, like it so important that this process
watch so closely that, if obviously, if, let's say Brok, Obama Alma were in Wisconsin and Joe Biden or Evan buyers, him Kane was seen getting on a play to fly the Milwaukee every reporter would know they're being reopened. That's what I but by then private planes are not a cure all now, because handful of reporters who know how to track private plain tail number yeah and would very constantly asked the campaigns. There's this plain flying from you know it's too, by from Delaware. Were Joe Biden lives to wherever Brok of Amr is right. Is your bite on that plane for an interview right, so you your private planes? How would you shroud that process
So you know that I love private planes. I mean I'm a socialist and everything, but I really am very into a private planes work and we would not only pick then you so again. We would fly people to wherever Barack Obama was going to be like way before he got there so that you know there was a little bit of secrecy with that, but we would also try to pick airports that they were departing from, but we're not usual or not. Not big airports like airports that you'd have to be pretty fucking death to even think about checking at like the departure for a certain call sign for an airport. You know like when we flew Joe Biden. He didn't leave from Delaware. He left from, I think some place in Pennsylvania. You know so it made it a little Heaven by was in Washington DC, but you know DC is much harder to track to there's a lot of private plane activity in and out of those
ports which gives you some cover, sometimes but again like he was dressed so that no one could recognize him. He met Molly Buford in the parking garage at union station where he was then taken too. I think the plane he was flying out of was dollars. Tim Kane heads like sneak out of his house and I'm pretty sure we told them you couldn't tell his wife, like I'm nearly positive TED Yoda, was in charge of that one and so people and that's the other thing. She was like a lot of peoples and tell extended family members that mean we were just very specific, and then there was Joe Biden. Joe Biden no one of my deputies, her name's Jessica right. She was from Minnesota, and so we had figured out because of Brok Obama's travel schedule. We were gonna, do the Biden meeting in Minnesota and she is one of the shrewd is small.
Best people, I've ever worked with, and when I got the phone call from her. That was like a dot m and remember, we told everyone to be incognito Incognito Joe Biden was in his aviators and a bomber jacket and a baseball hat. He looks exactly like health and as he was getting off the plane, there was another private plain, not that far away with a bunch of like, I think, oldish people who had come back like a big group, like you know, like Perillo, tore type situ and she's like he started waving at them and they were like hey Joe Biden and she was so sick to her stomach. I was like girls going to be okay and I didn't know if it was going to be okay, but he was the only person who we paraplegic you gotta by the rules here, and he he, but he was a mini, wasn't trying to be whatever, but I think he misunderstands how identifiable he and his aviators and that pearly grin and that wave can be too people. So, but luckily nobody now, but we knew and we live without higher for
Dave. Obviously Joe Biden is in the middle of this process. Right now, right, it is having an illness pandemic, he's not doing a lot of events on the road where he could have surreptitious meetings with people write in hotel rooms or parking Rogers, a river else, the modern day, a semester, Monaco and schedule those things. How do you The pandemic has affected this process and does it make it harder easier to keep it shrouded in secrecy and doublet? Can you pick a vice president of resume? Is that possible fell back the thing I think that, obviously, because you consume, and nowhere those resuming with someone, so it makes it easy to probably have a lot of conversations with people like. I personally, don't know how my report is with people who are already my friends what I thought zoom, but he definitely can talk to people having impersonal. Meanings seems nearly impossible, and let me tell you if
is having in person meetings hats off to you. If you feel because I've been trying to check it out and like. I can't tell that you're having anything done. So you know, I think that, on the one hand, you may get a more surprising outcome surprising, just as in the element of surprise not like outside of the box choice, but the thing that I think you ultimately have to sacrifice potentially is some of the surprise so that you can. Actually, you can have the one on one meetings and get a sense of someone like that's actually sort of you know. The Mitt Romney Paul Ryan, is that their chemistry. In person was so extraordinary.
It like shot him to the top of the list, and so I think that, and also the thing that's different for most people other than George H, W and Al Gore like when you ve been a vice president. You kind of no what you want someone so either. That makes it easier because you're, like note knelt note, maybe or you really do- need to sit down and meet with people, because you know what like he knows, what Obama expected of him and what he had to deliver as partner- and maybe you want to see at so like there is really no good answer this, except that it's hard, you know you do wonder whether the inability to have in person meetings would tend to favour people that Joe Biden already has a close personal relationship. It's just I say this half in jest when we talk about what factors Joe Biden will put into this. But what I think article may not know is that, when brought Mamma asked your by to be as vice president part of the deal was that
They would have lunch just the two of them once a week. Every week they were both in town right, and so I do think Joe Biden does know that he is picking some of the he's going to have to have lunch one day a week for forty years, like that's a big leap, It was only only had a couple of zoom calls with time limits So I do imagine there might be some serious It's under way to try to get these people in person in some way shape or form the same Is there anyone Joe Biden couldn't have lunch with? Well, that is true. The Tibetans that's a compliment to anyone. Listening it's a compliment. You know that Lily he leg. I laughed really hard inside above it outside when you brought out the extraordinary chemistry between. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan like two of Gmos, for human beings on the planet but, like Joe Biden, has just walking given chemistry into relate to anyone, whether orderly
their politician voter that woman in the elevator in the New York Times bachelor version of their interest, a process sources but the next part of the process. Eventually, you have a decision right in campaigns, go to incredible links to protect the secrecy of that decision and it's worth sort of digging into why they care so much and a part of it is the most important reasons you want you controlled.
News on your out, every human being, has a plan for how they're going to maximize that moment. One of those five most important moments that we talked about this is strictly you're running internet come at. This is one of the rare days where you get to dominate the coverage, so you want to do that at a time that best serves your campaign and you want to do it in a time and format that you control. It's gotta be a huge part of your fundraising plan, because it's a day when people get very engage, maybe the person that you picked has a big fund raising base. There was a big financing for the bombing campaign and, oh eight, adding was probably huge from raising campaign for the Clinton campaign in sixteen it. I'm sure the buyer fundraising team has thought about. That's like how they're gonna maxim is this to raise money online and now that they also have a second principle to go out to do from raising the third thing as organizational yet right. How do you use it to get volunteers and data? The Obama campaign in two thousand and eight had this idea that we were going to tell me
ball ye would First year Obama's decision via text. If you sign up for a text message, I didn't remember this. I remember it for a whole host of reasons by Jordan Waller, one of our producers found, is actually Gamma tweet from apple Obama bomb on from two thousand and eight, where he says so up here to find out my VP fit first, and it has still to this day. One retweet spoke it didn't get, it has indeed, but we got hundreds of thousands people to sign up for text messaging, which was wait. You get data we can reach out to them for fund raising and volunteer organizing a Jew tv because surprise is so important for those reasons.
The campaigns do go to extraordinary lengths protected what I think a lot of people dull by reporters and others using our centres that up until the moment of the announcement, the total number of people on the campaign who know who the pic is is probably funny get. Maybe maybe I've maybe the total- and so this most senior people on the campaign that communications directors, the speech writers, the people doing. The events have no idea and so like what are some of the things that you, whether it does for our two thousand and eight, I keep it secret or in two thousand, for I mean this just gives you the sense that I was at all the meetings. I knew every one that John Kerry had spoken with and spent time with them myself and I didn't know who it was until I read- was it the New York Post, the New York Post reported that it was Gebhardt. That was the one meeting I didn't do, and I knew for a fact that it was down to three or four people.
And we knew there were two things that we knew we are doing the event from Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania, of course, but also John, carries wife. Teresa Heinz is like the queen of Pittsburgh, subsided dude in Pittsburgh, and we did it right after the fourth of July, so that people would have not really been paying attention by people are doing their own shit around four July no one's like stocking, he John carries gonna pick, and we had several sets of placards made then had different name. On them. So was I carry Vill sack, carry Edwards, carry Gebhardt and may be carried Graham, I think those were the four and one a reporter, so the new posts reported that it was gap, part which was not true, but it was like the front page of the paper and another reporter found the placards that had other names on them. So lest John Edwards get a big head and think it had been him all along? I definitely was not, but we had the the John Edwards thing because
so much of it happened unlike July. Third and fourth, when people more and pay now much attention, it was announced, I think the morning of the fifth. I think it was to Life It was announced that morning hours was like super over the top choreographed you know, but back then in two thousand, for the whole point was- Are you on the nightly news and you get the cover of Time magazine What picture that shows up shut the fuck up. Ok was two thousand, for I'm were the same as you are now. Why do you like it?
was sixteen years ago. I was large advocate that building seem long ago very relevant. I mean I magazine covering the thing. Is it and remember that John Edwards has this like young, beautiful family, and so of course the first thing is the reporters are staked out. His house is the whole family. Air blown as beautiful as you can imagine, comes out of the house gets in the car. They get on the plane, go to Pittsburgh, and then there is this lake. I dont know if it was more like from little House on the prairie when carry goes rolling down the hill in the beginning or like the wantons, but like all the families united and we're in very, like neutral colored, clothing and sort of like appeared together outside at the farm in Pittsburgh. For the first time was very over the top, and then they gave their speech, which was fine. You know, but that to me the whole thing was the pictures. The pictures were, the important thing of John Kerry
his new you now running, made two of the best sets a teeth and all of Washington DC. At this point, and with Barack Obama, you know, can you remember when you knew I was buying? I don't remember exactly when I knew that it was Biden the night, so I was gonna like this is a good example. How seriously gimme sake the secrecy, so in two thousand I was working for our al- was down to Edwards. Carry and Liebermann were the three emitted by grandma thanks. Let me therefore, and we sent the campaigns and advanced teams to all four places, and we had just in case there is no one could know who the pic was gonna be so, and I my job at the time as a young twenty four year old was the northeast press rhymes northeast cooperation structure. So I was like overseeing the communications part at least of the
Liebermann, Connecticut, a fat and a junk stresses that I think we did a similar thing in two thousand and eight. I think we had people in Indiana, Richmond and Delawares correct yeah, that's right we also had, we had to do three different rollout inside, like they're sitting around there are there were three speeches, someone wrote, I can't we I've ever cloth brought in a bunch of a small handful of us and told us. It was down to these three which everyone trying to do with that. But I don't know shit. I would never do anything for me. You may be in trouble thirteen all round that ends well. Thus by you brought in- and it was a u about you're in there- you normally, I was there to favour was there and we were told that these three weedy plans for all three
I like. What's the press plan there were sitting out there somewhere on someone's laptop, are speeches from Rock Obama announcing Evan by and in Katyn, as vice president, that was a secret, but we also know we also went through some other subterfuge in the run up and the like in the last few weeks, or so the press it really narrowed down to, I think, basically, the fight who were the actual fine author. And that's always worrisome, because when you take the all of the press, resources in you put them on three people, they'll find out more information and if their spread out on ten right, and we were getting back very worried that some homage ass it, which is what ultimately happened. Somebody has basically guest and be no evil one in three chance of being right and earlier in the process, Rock Obama had vetted Chet Edwards, who, as a democratic congressmen from Texas, was on the Veterans Affairs Committee and no one had no,
That should ever said bit on the list and we need a ball distraction to get us the last few days to announcement day and so at some point. Some reporter think carbon asked us if Shut Edwards was being considered And normally we would never answer that question, but I think the way I handed it was we can neither confirm nor deny that shudder, birds is being considered and he had been considered when he was only as far as I know not, and that final Thrace was like I can neither confirm or deny that Shit Edwards is being considered, wig wink wake and all the sudden, like every national outwit sent someone down a Texas jet Edwards played it like a champ of We get that point peaked certainly knew he was not days away from being be visa, but he was completely game to go along with it. He created like this little diversion the distracted, the precious refugees. We didn't why we didn't say he was being considered. We just didn't, say he wasn't being considered and we
them overreact on their own. You know that when you explain all this starting back with Gore and how Gore had carry Edwards Joe Liebermann ends Gram, then Mccain, went to have Liebermann and then carry went to have Edwards and Graham, you literally have figured out how ABC got the idea for all the bachelor spent. Offs. It's like all. The secondary people go onto their own franchise riches, which which that's, why a lot of people get considered because it's a great way to live. Like John Edwards, would not have run for president two thousand and four if he had not been on Al Gore. Shortlist hold elections That's why this process matters even for those who are not act very good, unless I think that is a great way to end the first episode of that the ticket we will be back next Friday. We talk about the historic stakes of Joe Biden, decision and howl relates to previous picks up.
Female contenders, like shouting for our and Sarah Palin, thanks everyone, so much pod. Save America is a product of cricket media. The executive producer is Michael Martinez, are assisting producer. Is Jordan Waller its mixed in edited by Andrew Chadwick? Kyle segment? Is our sound engineer thanks to Tom you, some later Katy Long, roman puppet Dimitrios, Caroline resting Annalisa Gutierrez for production support into our digital teen, illogical and normal Coney and Yell Freed in Milo Camp who film and upload these episodes is videos every week.
Transcript generated on 2020-06-26.