Politico readers believed they had stumbled upon a major political scoop when the outlet published a story proclaiming that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had chosen U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate.
Although the story has since been retracted, it drew more attention to the speculation surrounding Biden’s pick and Harris’ position atop his list of potential candidates.
“A worthy running mate”
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the Politico piece quoted the former vice president’s apparent praise for his one-time presidential primary rival. Specifically, he called her “a worthy opponent and a worthy running mate,” the piece stated.
“She will bring her experience as a prosecutor, household name recognition, and skill as a debater to the ticket,” Politico went on to report.
Biden himself added to the rumor mill this week when he was photographed with a list of talking points defending Harris.
T.J. Ducklo, Biden’s press secretary, tweeted a response to the article, declaring that it “is not real” and that the former vice president “looks forward to making his announcement in August.”
As for Politico, the article was updated to remove two paragraphs — including the quote attributed to Biden — and include an apology blaming “a technical error” for the confusion.
“Mistakenly published to the site”
“Placeholder text was mistakenly published to the site,” a spokesperson from the website later explained in a statement to the Examiner.
Typically, the source said that a standard dummy text is used, but “that did not happen” in this case.
Biden has indicated that he is likely to choose a woman of color to round out his presidential ticket, and Harris’ name has frequently been cited as a likely possibility. She has received criticism from some within the Democratic Party, however, based on her record as a former prosecutor.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) made that history an issue during the primary race, declaring in a debate last year that Harris “put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
Considering Biden’s relative reclusiveness thus far in the presidential race, his running mate might have to do a lot of the heavy lifting over the next several months. While it is not official yet, an announcement naming Harris as his pick would hardly come as a surprise.