Joe Biden has not announced his running mate yet, but already liberal activist groups, Democratic politicians, and their media allies are laying the groundwork to label criticism of the vice presidential nominee as racist and sexist. In interviews with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and California Rep. Barbara Lee on Monday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell wondered played the role of DNC hack and asked how to stop this.
Mitchell's segment with Klobuchar was less of an interview and more of a friendly reunion with the mutual exchange of jokes about the historical absence of women presidents and vice presidents and television bosses. Mitchell, however eventually got serious enough to ask if there would be a "backlash" if Biden picks a white woman.
Klobuchar gave the standard politician answer, arguing whoever Biden picks will be a good selection, but she still believes it should be a black woman. She then advised Mitchell and the rest of the media to appreciate the historic nature of moment, "I hope that isn't lost in all of the, you know, the fun you guys have on your show. Who’s this, who’s this, who's getting attacked. Come on now. This will be a moment."
The two recalled the 1984 nomination of Geraldine Ferraro, with Mitchell, apparently forgetting Sarah Palin's 2008 candidacy, observing, "And Gerry Ferraro was 36 years ago, and -- we've seen how many years have passed."
Mitchell concluded by returning to joking around, "Thank you very much for the ambitious senator from Minnesota. Which is high praise." Klobuchar, cracking herself up, thanked Mitchell for being a good Democratic ally, "There's no one more ambitious than Andrea Mitchell."
About 30 minutes later Mitchell welcomed Lee to discuss the same topic: "The concern among people in the campaigns as well as outside women's groups, that there is going to be ad continues to be already a lot of sexist attacks and potentially racist attacks a well, if he chooses a black woman. What can be done to try to prevent that in terms of online, in interviews, in print?"
Like Klobuchar, Lee thanked Mitchell for service in advancing the Biden campaign, "Andrea, thank you so much for that question. I know personally, you know personally what this is all about. It's shameful and disgusting and I'm pleased that our women's organizations are prepared, they’re pushing back."
Ironically, Mitchell, Klobuchar, and Lee's heavy focus on the ambition trope is that it not coming so much from right-wing misogynistic Trump supporters, as it is from various Biden insiders. Naturally, all three ignored this.
This segment was sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts.
Here is a transcript for the August 10 show:
Andrea Mitchell Reports
12:15 PM ET
ANDREA MTICHELL: So, you told that to Lawrence O'Donnell when you announced your decision. Is it still true now? And if so, do you think there will be backlash if one of the white contenders is chosen?
AMY KLOBUCHAR: Whoever Joe Biden chooses he's going to make a good decision, because they're all qualified. Every single one of them. I still believe what I said to him that night, and what I said to Lawrence the next day and that is that this is a historic moment. We've seen people of color hurt in epic numbers from this pandemic. They’re have been overwhelmingly the ones percentage-wise dying, the ones on the front line. We've seen the anger over the murder of George Floyd in my state. This is a moment like no other and that's my suggestion, but I will strongly support whoever he picks, because they are such a great group of women, and I hope that isn't lost in all of the, you know, the fun you guys have on your show. Who’s this, who’s this, who's getting attacked. Come on now. This will be a moment. I remember when one woman was picked, Geraldine Ferraro. I remember it, because I thought, when that happened in my state, I still remember what she was wearing, I thought anything and everything is possible. Well this is many, many years later and this is an election like no other and we have a group of candidates who have led, who will be strong, bring compassion, and competence to the ticket that will complement Joe Biden's compassion and confidence. So I'm excited about whoever he picks and ready to go and help.
MITCHELL: And Geraldine Ferraro was 36 years ago, and -- we've seen how many years have passed. Thank you very much for the ambitious senator from Minnesota. Which is high praise. Thanks.
KLOBUCHAR: There's no one more ambitious than Andrea Mitchell. Anyway -- very good. Thank you for having me on, and that is a compliment.
12:44 PM ET
MITCHELL: I want to talk about Joe Biden and his deliberations first, and the concern among people in the campaign as well as outside women's groups, that there is going to be ad continues to be already a lot of sexist attacks and potentially racist attacks a well, if he chooses a black woman. What can be done to try to prevent that in terms of online, in interviews, in print?
BARBARA LEE: Andrea, thank you so much for that question. I know personally, you know personally what this is all about. It's shameful and disgusting and I'm pleased that our women's organizations are prepared, they’re pushing back. I mean, look, women are assertive, we're bold, yes, and ambitious. Harriet Tubman freed the slaves, she was ambitious. Ida B. Wells, Dr. Dorothy Height, and Shirley Chisholm was ambitious. My mother was ambitious, so come on, it’s about time they got over it and we have to push back on social media, through interviews and through showing up and making sure you say enough is enough and not allow these horrible sexist, misogynistic comments and attitudes to prevail. I think this is it and we're going to make sure of that.
MITCHELL: What if he passes over, in fact, two of your colleagues in the Black Caucus? What if he passes over having a black candidate at this moment in history?
LEE: Andrea, first of all, let me say all of the women are fully prepared to serve a vice president who have been made public on his list. Second, we actually have three wonderful, phenomenal women of the Black Caucus on the list, you have Senator Harris, Congresswoman Bass and also you have Congresswoman Demings. All three are very active members of the Congressional Black Caucus. So here we have three women who are well-prepared to be vice president. Look, I think it's going to be up to, like, everyone understands. It's going to be up to Vice President Biden to make the decision, hopefully soon. I'm really excited about this, and he will actually, you know, bring forth the woman he thinks will both -- be consistent with both his values and his agenda and I am prepared to work really hard to make sure that we win, regardless of who is on the tickets and as it relates to the vice president, but I said from day one, I thought it should be an African-American woman. This is the moment that we need to make sure that the issues around racism, sexism, equality, racial justice and inequality is addressed in a magnificent, deep way and every single policy coming out of the White House and I think an African-American woman is fully prepared for that.