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Why the VP picks may matter more than usual in 2024: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Mar17,2024



Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s episode, political reporter Allan Smith interviews one of the candidates to be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate. Plus, “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker explains why vice presidential picks may be more important than ever in this election.


Inside RFK Jr.’s VP selection process โ€” according to one candidate

By Allan Smith

Mike Rowe thought he was going to meet with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to talk about his efforts to strengthen skilled trade.

Rowe said it was “immediately clear” that the conversation, which happened about a month ago, would be more extensive. The room was filled not only with Kennedy, but also with several workers for his independent presidential campaign. And it turned out that Rowe, best known as the host of the Discovery Channel show, was being interviewed as part of Kennedy’s VP selection process.


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In an interview with NBC News, Rowe provided the most detailed account of how Kennedy vetted potential ticket mates. Rowe said he discussed the candidate’s views on key issues and policy areas with Kennedy because he made it clear he did not want a candidate who saw “eye to eye” with him on everything.

Rowe is among several candidates to serve as Kennedy’s running mate. The list is included New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and WWE star and former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. Kennedy’s campaign has announced it will announce its VP pick on March 26 in Oakland. Rowe has neither confirmed nor denied that he was offered the job.

Rowe said he spoke with Kennedy For a long time on workforce development and Rowe’s advocacy, Rowe pushed back against Kennedy’s criticism that he was “anti-college” or “anti-education,” which the television and podcast host denied. But Rowe said Kennedy spent too much time discussing the national debt, ending “perpetual wars” and waging “his own war on chronic disease.”

Kennedy expressed interest in building a “team of rivals” around him in advisory roles. Rowe said Kennedy did not want to surround himself with “yes men and yes women.”

“The funny thing about all of this was I probably reminded him a couple of times that I’m not your guy,” Rowe said. “We do not agree with this. We do not agree with that. Look, I deal with people in the energy business that he has sued many times over the years. And he laughed and said, โ€œYes, I know that. I just don’t think I’ll ever find someone who agrees with me on everything. And I love that you’re a supporter.’

Read more here โ†’


Why veeps will matter more in 2024

Analysis by Kristen Welker

It’s been a big week for the vice president and potential contenders for his job, highlighting that No. 2 on the ticket could have a bigger impact on the campaign than ever before.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Minnesota on Thursday visit A Planned Parenthood clinic is believed to be the first president or vice president to tour a facility that provides abortion services.

Kennedy Jr. is now set to announce his VP pick for his independent campaign later this month.

Speculations about former President Donald Trump ultimate running mate has started. Early possibilities include South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Add up all the activity and discussion, and it highlights why the presidential candidates’ VP picks could be even more important in 2024 than in the last election.

This is important because of the ages of both President Joe Biden (age 81) and Trump (age 77), as well as all the legal challenges the former president has faced.

This is important because surveys to show Harris is less popular than Biden and Trump allies are already running TV ads targeting him.

“Can Biden live until 2029 if he wins?” asks a narrator Ad from a pro-Trump super PAC. “The real question is: can we?” the narrator continues before introducing a clip of Harris laughing.

It is also important that Kennedy be able to vote, as is the case in at least 26 states. is required the candidate should apply for the presidency by adding the name of his companion.

VP candidates have rarely played a major role in our presidential elections, with voters usually making up their minds based on who is at the top of the ticket. (Sarah Palin may be the only modern exception.)

But 2024 could be a very different campaign, one where VPs take center stage and ultimately help shape the race for the White House.



๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ The best stories of the day

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Trump’s Trials: Special prosecutor Nathan Wade has resigned after a judge ruled that he can remain in the racketeering case against Trump in Georgia if Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis recuses herself. The judge ruled that the “appearance of unhappiness” caused by Willis’ romantic relationship with Wade would result in one of them quitting the job. More โ†’
  • โš–๏ธ The Trump Trials, Continued: Meanwhile, a hush money trial against Trump in New York has been postponed until mid-April, a judge has ruled. More โ†’
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Democrats double down : Biden praised Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s speech Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “lost his way” and called for new elections in Israel. More โ†’
  • ๐Ÿšซ Blocked and reported: The Supreme Court has ruled that members of the public can sue public officials for blocking them on social media platforms in some cases, deciding several cases amid Trump’s controversial use of Twitter. More โ†’
  • ๐Ÿ’ฒNot good: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Goode of Virginia is facing opposition from his own party in the primary. The Republican Main Street Partnership plans to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars against him, The New York Times reports. More โ†’
  • ๐Ÿ˜ All over the map: House Republicans meeting this week for their annual policy retreat agree they support in vitro fertilization, but they can’t agree on how to protect it. More โ†’

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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