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Hispanic Lawmakers Say Hillary Clinton Needs A Little 'Sizzle' In A VP

Hillary Clinton laughs as Labor Secretary Tom Perez endorses her during a campaign stop in Iowa on Dec. 4.
Nati Harnik
Hillary Clinton laughs as Labor Secretary Tom Perez endorses her during a campaign stop in Iowa on Dec. 4.

Lawmakers: They're just like us!

"Everyone's favorite parlor game right now in D.C. is who will be the vice presidential pick," Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., said at a briefing with reporters.

Every four years, the guessing game around the "veepstakes" reaches fever pitch right around now, when the nominating conventions are just weeks away. Democratic lawmakers are rich in opinions on whom Hillary Clinton should tap as her running mate.

"I think she needs a retail politician who has experience, somebody like a Joe Biden," Sanchez said. "I know that sounds trite, but he really connects with people, I think, on a very personal level. And I think to spark the kind of enthusiasm for her campaign, I think she'd do well to pick somebody who has a lot of sizzle in terms of their outreach into different communities. Yeah, sizzle is the best word I can think of."

One of the rumored Democratic contenders is Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a relative unknown on the national political stage, but someone who has a lot of fans inside the Beltway.

But does he sizzle?

"He's really smart," Sanchez said. "He makes nerdy look chic. I love, love, love that man."

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a top Congressional Hispanic Caucus official, said he would be "honored" if Perez made the cut.

"I think we would all feel really comfortable with him," Gallego said. "Obviously, there's a lot of other people out there, but he sizzles — and he snap, crackle, pops."

While Perez comes from reliably Democratic Maryland, Gallego argued that his Dominican-American background would play well in swing states like Florida. And maybe, he quipped, with other demographics like "the hipster vote, because he wears those hipster glasses."

Sanchez and Gallego said they'd like to see a Latino on the ticket, but they understand if Clinton goes in another direction.

"The choice is a very personal one," Sanchez said. "This is someone who's going to be her running mate. This is someone she has to trust. This is someone she has to have confidence in. We all have our favorites; we're not the one in the position who has to campaign with this person nonstop."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.

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