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Whitmer says she's had 'opening conversation' on VP potential

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer indicated Tuesday she'd been contacted by former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign to assess her candidacy as his running mate. 

Asked whether she'd been vetted by the campaign, Whitmer told the "3rd Hour of Today" she had an "opening conversation" with the campaign, but was focused on the job at hand in Michigan. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer talks with "Today" show host Craig Melvin on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

"It's not something that I would call a professional, formalized vetting," she said.

"... I've had a conversation with some folks but the fact of the matter is all of my energy is going into helping my state through this crisis unlike one that we've seen in a hundred years in this country," Whitmer said. 

Speculation about the possibility of Whitmer being picked to be Biden's running mate kicked into high gear during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The governor has been on national television several times a week over the last couple of months and has been asked about the possibility repeatedly. 

She has deflected in the past, saying she was focused on getting the state through the pandemic, where the Metro Detroit counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb were hit particularly hard. 

Tuesday's interview marked one of the first times Whitmer has admitted to being at least informally vetted by the campaign. 

In late March, when asked about Whitmer as a potential running mate, Biden told MSNBC's Brian Williams that Whitmer had "made the list in my mind two months ago."

eleblanc@detroitnews.com