A contingent of Duckworth sponsors for vice presidents, including high-dollar donors and a group of politically active veterans, has stepped up efforts on her behalf in the past two weeks, making her the best choice for Biden’s running mate.
“I’ve been working on my butt, trying to get Joe to look at her favorably,” Joe Cotchett, a longtime friend of Biden and a prominent Biden West Coast standout, told POLITICIAN. Cotchett said Duckworth’s sensible response to Carlson has further raised his prospects.
“If you put Tammy Duckworth on the ballot, many veterans tell me, ‘Boy, she represents not only the Midwest but she represents what our group is about,'” Cotchett said. “Having no legs, for me, is an attribute in this crazy election year. Bring to the table a seriously injured veteran who speaks for women and veterans and shows that she is someone who can take on ‘Cadet Bone Spurs’. ”
The fight with Carlson last week began when the Fox News presenter called Duckworth, an Army helicopter pilot who lost both her legs fighting in Iraq, “a coward” and a “fraud” who hates the United States. He was reacting to Duckworth by saying that she welcomed a “national dialogue” about the removal of the statues of George Washington and other Founding Fathers who owned slaves. Duckworth later clarified that he is personally opposed to tearing down the Washington statues, but supports open discussion.
Duckworth, who wears prosthetics, responded by challenging Carlson to “walk a mile on my legs.”
Google searches for “Duckworth” and cable news channels built segments around the Carlson-Duckworth clash. Democratic officials, including Biden, jumped to his defense. The week ended with Duckworth writing an op-ed in The New York Times accusing that neither President Donald Trump nor Carlson knows what patriotism is.
“Attacks by insecure and selfish men who cannot distinguish between true patriotism and hateful nationalism will never diminish my love for this country, or my willingness to sacrifice it so they don’t have to,” wrote Duckworth. “These titanium legs don’t bend.”
Biden has said he hopes to announce his election for vice president next month, and Duckworth is among several contenders who have had a moment in the spotlight. Others being investigated include Senator Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Representatives Val Demings of Florida and Karen Bass of California, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
Although Duckworth is Thai-American, Biden is under pressure to choose an African-American woman, both to reward an electorate that drove his primary victory and to recognize recognition of the race the country is going through. Progressive groups, meanwhile, I have endorsed Warren, arguing that it would help excite the party’s left flank.
Ideologically, Duckworth is largely aligned with the majority of the Senate Democratic committee. She has supported progressive causes like paid leave, but has not signed up for “Medicare for All” but instead supports Medicare expansion plans closer to Biden’s healthcare proposal.