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Politics & Government

Rumored To Be On The VP List, Sen. Kaine To Campaign With Clinton

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that he'll announce his vice presidential pick tomorrow. Hillary Clinton has been secretive about her possible choice of running mate. But today, one name rumored to be on her short list is getting something of an audition. Here's NPR's Tamara Keith.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Virginia Senator Tim Kaine will campaign with Hillary Clinton this afternoon at a community college in northern Virginia. Online odds-makers put Kaine at the top of Clinton's short list. Here's NBC's Chuck Todd asking him about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MEET THE PRESS")

CHUCK TODD: All right. A lot of people are writing about you right now in American politics. And there - it seems to be a theme...

TIM KAINE: Don't believe the hype.

KAINE: Well...

KAINE: Don't believe the hype.

TODD: All right.

KEITH: There are denials, and there are dodges. And in recent weeks, there have been so many of them. In the quadrennial parlor game that is VP speculation, this is the season of asking possible candidates if they're being vetted by the campaign, whether they've filled out a survey or shared financial information with those putting together files on all of the potential veeps. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow asked Massachusetts senator and progressive hero Elizabeth Warren about whether she was being considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW")

RACHEL MADDOW: Has Hillary Clinton talked to you about the prospect of being her running mate? Have you...

ELIZABETH WARREN: Nope.

MADDOW: ...Been vetted? Have you - no, no conversations?

WARREN: No.

MADDOW: Am I supposed to ask it more broadly? Has...

WARREN: (Laughter).

MADDOW: Have her people talked to your people?

WARREN: (Laughter) I don't think so. You know...

MADDOW: OK.

WARREN: ...Look, I know there's been a lot of speculation about this. But the truth is I love the work I do.

KEITH: Ah, the old I-love-my-job answer. That's what Labor Secretary Tom Perez went with when Montgomery Community Media asked him to address the speculation.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "SECRETARY TOM PEREZ ADDRESSES CLINTON VP SPECULATION")

THOMAS PEREZ: I just put my head down and do my job, you know. Those sorts of rumors aren't part of what I'm doing.

KEITH: Perez has been a dedicated Clinton campaign surrogate. And many think he could be up for the VP slot. In fact, all the people most hotly discussed have been out campaigning for Clinton. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown's non-answer didn't go so well when Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" asked him three times if he had been contacted or vetted by the campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THIS WEEK")

SHERROD BROWN: I'm not going to speculate.

MARTHA RADDATZ: I'm not asking you to speculate.

BROWN: Talk to the Clinton campaign.

RADDATZ: Have you been contacted?

BROWN: I understand. I - you've heard my answer. That's what you're going to get. And talk to the Secretary Clinton campaign.

KEITH: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had essentially the same answer for Peter Alexander on MSNBC.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MEET THE PRESS DAILY")

PETER ALEXANDER: So let me ask you point blank. Are you being vetted right now by the campaign?

TOM VILSACK: Listen, those questions should obviously be directed to the campaign.

KEITH: The Clinton campaign declined to comment for this story. The campaign seems to be doing its best not to contribute to the veep stakes chatter. Last week, Clinton spent a full day at her Washington, D.C., home meeting with aides and lawyers who were leading the selection process. We know this not because the campaign made an announcement, but because TV crews staked out the house all day. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.