Will she make a bold choice – a youthful minority or maybe a woman who excites the liberal wing of the party? Or a more cautious choice – a likeable white man with whom she is more comfortable?
Democrat Hillary Clinton will end months of speculation when she announces her running mate this weekend in the battleground state of Florida, just ahead of the Democratic National Convention.
Clinton is expected to announce her decision while on a two-day swing in the central and southern parts of the Sunshine State, with appearances Friday and Saturday.
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The long-awaited announcement follows a flurry of campaign rallies that served as tryouts for the vice presidential contenders. In recent days, Clinton met with several of them at her Washington, D.C. home.
What’s she want? To win, of course. But also, to govern if elected.
The 68-year-old Clinton told CBS this week that she is looking for a running mate who can easily step into the job of commander-in-chief, if needed.
I am afflicted with the responsibility gene, and I know what it’s like being president. I’ve seen it up close, I’ve worked for one, I’ve had that experience. So for me there is nothing more important than my rock-solid conviction that the person I choose could literally get up one day and be the president of the United States.
Hillary Clinton on CBS
Here are the ups and downs of the most-mentioned possibilities:
Job: Virginia senator
Advantages: The former governor is one of the only people on the list with national security experience. He is a member of both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees who’s made a name for himself on Capitol Hill arguing that there’s no legal authority for the current U.S. mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
He’s fluent in Spanish after spending a year as a missionary in Honduras. He tops most insiders’ lists because he is considered a safe bet for the usually cautious Clinton. He was one of Clinton’s first supporters, endorsing her in May 2014, has executive experience and hails from a swing state.
Disadvantages: The centrist politician wouldn’t help excite the liberal wing of the party who flocked to Clinton’s former rival, Bernie Sanders in droves.
Job: Agriculture secretary
Advantages: He has a long-standing personal friendship with Clinton, has executive experience and hails from the swing state of Iowa.
Disadvantages: He had to apologize for a national controversy when he forced a black federal employee to resign based on incomplete and misleading reports of a speech she gave in 2010 talking about not offering her full help to a white farmer.
Job: Retired four-star Navy admiral who served as the 16th supreme allied commander of NATO
Advantages: He worked closely with Clinton when she was secretary of state and has considerable national security experience as the person who oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans and along the shores of Africa.
Disadvantages: Now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he has no political experience.
Job: Labor secretary
Advantages: He has a close relationship with Clinton, appeals to the left wing of the party and has strong ties with organized labor. As a Hispanic, Perez could help draw Latino support in several battleground states with large Hispanic populations, Florida, Nevada and Colorado and Florida.
Disadvantages: A former state official in Maryland and now a Cabinet secretary, he has little elective experience.
Clinton will campaign in Orlando and Tampa on Friday, and in Miami on Saturday. The Democratic National Convention begins Monday.
Job: New Jersey senator
Advantages: He is youthful, media-saavy and energetic. As an African American, he could help Clinton secure black support in several battleground states, including Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.
Disadvantages: He is young and has limited experience, serving as Newark mayor before becoming a senator in 2013.
Job: Massachusetts senator
Pros: She could help Clinton with liberal supporters who originally preferred Sanders, the 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist who tapped into anger brewing in the country to earn the surprise backing of millions of voters.
Cons: She and Clinton are not close – the senator did not endorse Clinton until after she secured enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee – and it’s unlikely the usually cautious Clinton would want to create an all-female ticket.
Job: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Advantages: He is youthful, and as a Hispanic, he could help Clinton secure Latino support in several battleground states with large Hispanic populations, Florida, Nevada and Colorado and Florida.
Disadvantages: He is young and has limited experience, serving as the mayor of San Antonio before he was confirmed as President Barack Obama’s HUD secretary. Just this week, the Office of Special Counsel determined that Castro violated a federal law designed to separate federal employees from politics during a April media interview.