Joe Biden had set his announcement of his selection of a VP running mate to happen on August 1.
Early that morning the Biden Campaign announced it was pushing back the announcement another 2 weeks.
Three African-American women have been reported to be among the finalists. This would fulfill a commitment made by Biden to pick a “woman of color” to join him on the Democrat party ticket. The three were California Senator Kamala Harris, Californian House Member Karen Bass, and former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
Harris has long been rumored to be the leading candidate, but there are many reasons related to internal Democrat party rivalries why she seems to have fallen out of favor with Biden’s VP search committee. It has been reported that one virtue Bass seemed to have going for her is that she does not seemingly have aspirations to run for President herself in 2024 — although four years is a lifetime in politics.
Bass is also being strongly supported by Nancy Pelosi and the California House delegation.
On the day of the planned announcement, following a “boomlet” in positive press coverage of Bass from the DNC “house organs” the NYT, WaPo, and CNDNC/MSDNC, the Daily Caller dropped a story about a speech Bass gave at the opening of a new Headquarters Building for Scientology in Los Angeles and posted a video of her speech in which she praised the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. The story noted that this particular speech, given while Bass was the Speaker of the California Assembly in 2010, wasn’t the only time she had made favorable public remarks about Scientology, and pointing to similar praise by her at another event.
I covered the likely connection between the Daily Caller story and the announced delay in this story.
Bass put out a comment later in the day saying that at the time she made the comments, the controversy about Scientology and its leadership was not yet common knowledge. That was blatantly false as Scientology has been controversial for decades — especially in California where it has a strong following in Hollywood creative circles, with such notable practitioners as mega-stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Many historical controversies involving Scientology had received greater public attention in recent years because of the book by Lawrence Wright titled “Going Clear”, and the subsequent HBO documentary based on the book by the same title. But the Wright book and HBO documentary didn’t expose something not previously known, and a high powered politician in Los Angeles would know that wasn’t the case.
Because Bass also received significant negative press about the praise she offered for Fidel Castro at the time of his death, and with her potential selection as Biden’s VP candidate now hanging in the balance, Bass tried to snuff out the Scientology story on Twitter again by claiming her attendance at the event was simply a public appearance for a significant construction project in her district.
As reported today by Politico, that is not true. When they asked Bass to comment on the explanation she changed her story by stating that the claim the Church Building was in her district was a mistake.