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California Sen. Kamala Harris Seen as Favorite for Biden's Running Mate

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Former vice president Joe Biden is close to choosing a running mate.

He had pledged to nominate a woman for the position and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is widely perceived as a front-runner although, during last year's presidential debate, the she and Biden had a tense exchange about race, school busing, and segregation.

"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to schools everyday and that little girl was me," said Harris during the debate.

Biden called the criticism a mischaracterization of his position across the board.

"I did not praise racists. That is not true, number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I'm happy to do that," he said.

San Jose State journalism professor Bob Rucker said Biden's VP pick also needs to understand how to work with people and particularly the boss to get things done in this country.

"There's a feistiness, we already know, between Harris and Biden, that could work to their advantage if they work together and it could also be a challenge for the party to galvanize around," said Rucker.

If Harris is chosen, she would be the first Black and Indian American woman to be nominated on a major party's presidential ticket.

"The very thing that makes her a very viable candidate for the VP pick, also could potentially be to her detriment which is star power," said SJSU public relations professor Shaun Fletcher. "Her star power and name recognition with all of the work that she's done in her storied political career I believe makes her the top of the VP ticket."

At 77, Biden is in line to be the oldest president ever.

"Vice President Biden is going to pick someone who meets the top two criteria, number one -- can this person step into the job and govern well should that need arise and, number two, can this be a good partner," said SJSU political acience professor Donna Crane.

Biden was also seen with another possible pick on Monday, Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles. The two had an impromptu meeting in the Capitol.

We could know his choice for VP by the end of the week -- more than two weeks before the start of the Democratic National Convention.

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