How tough was the vetting? Finalists had to turn
over every password for every social media account for every member of
They had to turn over every password for every social media account for every member of their families.
They had to list every piece of property they’d ever owned, and
copies of every résumé that they’d put out for the past 10 years. Every
business partner. Every gift they’d ever received, according to those
familiar with the details of the vetting process.
For the finalists in the hunt to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate,
it was five weeks of questions and follow-up, and follow-up to the
follow-up questions, starting from when they were summoned one-by-one to
meet with campaign chairman John Podesta and lawyer Jim Hamilton and
told to bring along just one trusted person who’d serve as the point of
Last Friday was interview day at Clinton’s D.C. home, the final exam
that some of the VP candidates had spent weeks with their staffs
preparing their pitches for. Clinton, with Podesta seated nearby as the
only other one in the room, would start the session by talking them up.
Then she’d ask: “Why do you want the job?”
It was a simple end to a complicated process, one that concluded with
Clinton tapping Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her choice for the
Democratic vice presidential nominee.
She didn’t call all the finalists herself last night, once the
decision was made and the meticulous plans were put into action. Some
got word from Podesta, who’d only say that they’d decided “to go in a
different direction.” He called the congressional leadership to tell
them it was Tim Kaine. And he called Bernie Sanders. She didn’t.
Kaine also made a call to Sanders.
The Virginia senator was never on the Friday schedule for the
meetings with the others. The night before, after the pair had
campaigned together in Northern Virginia, she’d invited him back to her
house for what her campaign calls an “informal” conversation, but that
90 minutes together served as the interview—and Saturday, he and his
wife headed to the Clintons’ Chappaqua, New York, home for lunch with
all the Clintons to see how they’d all get along.