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Political World Awaits Hillary Clinton's Pick For Vice President


With the Republican National Convention over, the attention now turns to the Democratic Party. And the political world is awaiting Hillary Clinton's pick for vice president. The presumptive Democratic nominee is expected to announce her running mate at any time. And NPR's Tamara Keith is in Tampa, Fla., where Hillary Clinton held a rally earlier this evening. Hi there, Tam.


MCEVERS: So what do we know about how close Clinton is to making her decision on this?

KEITH: We don't know anything for sure.


KEITH: On background, a Clinton campaign spokesperson said that - that nothing has changed. The plan has not changed, and you guys don't know the plan. So...

MCEVERS: (Laughter) OK, that's some clarity there, all right.


KEITH: And what I will tell you, I'm sitting here with my phone, waiting for a possible text message because earlier today, her campaign had tweeted out that you should text VP to a certain number and that you would be one of the first to find out. So I'm here, ready...

MCEVERS: Here we are, all right.

KEITH: ...With my phone.

MCEVERS: Well, one thing we're hearing a lot about is Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. What can you tell us about him and about some of the other names on the short list?

KEITH: Tim Kaine is the senator, as you say, from Virginia. He's the former governor, mayor of Richmond, Va., before that. He is considered to be a safe pick. He's not going to set progressive hearts aflutter. In fact, some progressive groups have raised concerns about him and his support for the banking industry, for instance. Other people on the short list - Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, Cory Booker, the senator from New Jersey, a relatively new senator and former mayor of Newark, N.J., and also Tom Perez, the labor secretary and formerly of the Justice Department.

MCEVERS: The Republican convention, of course, wrapped up last night. And Hillary Clinton, as we know, was a major focus throughout the week. We heard delegates chanting lock her up several times. How did she respond to that today?

KEITH: Well, so basically today's speech was all about responding to the RNC, to the convention. And it - you know, it's an interesting strategy - build up the VP speculation, hold a big rally that everybody's going to cover and then - and then respond to the convention. And what she said is that there was one person who said something at the convention who she kind of agreed with.


HILLARY CLINTON: I never thought I would say these words, but Ted Cruz was right.


KEITH: He was roundly booed for not endorsing Trump and saying people should vote their conscience.


CLINTON: In this election, do the right thing and vote your conscience. Vote for your future. Vote for a United States of America.


KEITH: She also talked about Trump - at one point in his speech said, I alone can fix it. And she was very critical of that and sort of riffed on that theme for a while - ended her speech saying the words, love trumps hate.

MCEVERS: And quickly, I understand Hillary Clinton also visited the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier today, of course, the scene of last month's horrific shooting massacre. How did that go?

KEITH: She laid roses at a memorial, and she talked to victims and family members. It was a very somber occasion. And she saw it as feeding into this message of bringing people together.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Tamara Keith, traveling with the Clinton campaign, which is expected to announce a candidate for vice president at some point. Thank you very much, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.