April 03-- WASHINGTON-Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday night that he has spoken to Bernie Sanders to inform him he was starting the vetting process for a running mate, saying he wanted to give his rival advanced notice so as not to appear "presumptuous."
It was the first time he has publicly acknowledged private conversations with his only remaining rival in the Democratic primary race.
"I am in the process and I've actually had this discussion with Bernie because he's a friend," Biden said during a virtual fundraiser. "We're competitors. He's a friend. I don't want him to think I'm being presumptuous, but you have to start now deciding who you're going to have background checks done on as potential vice presidential candidates."
Biden holds a nearly insurmountable lead in delegates, but with many states delaying elections because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sanders has signaled he isn't planning to drop out of the race yet. Biden said he's likely going to start the process of vetting running mates in mid-April.
The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fundraiser was hosted by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft Corp., and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, the senior vice president of Nanostring Technologies Inc. The event was live-streamed, and the Biden campaign said 181 people attended.
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