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Neera Tanden is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget, but a leaked email from 2015 indicates that Tanden may not have always believed Biden was the best Democratic presidential candidate for the job.
Tanden is CEO of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress and the former policy director for Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign. In an email sent to John Podesta, former chief of staff for Bill Clinton, on Oct. 20, 2015, Tanden clearly stated that she had more confidence in Hillary Clinton than Biden.
“The good thing about a Biden run is that he would make Hillary look so much better,” Tanden said. “What a mess today. Thanks for today and last night.”
Tanden was likely referencing an event honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale in Washington, where Biden critiqued Clinton.
At the Oct. 20, 2015 event, Biden portrayed his own leadership during the Obama administration as more critical to its successes than Clinton’s as former secretary of state, and rebuked her as “naïve” for calling Republicans her principal enemy.
FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, file photo, Neera Tanden, president of Center for American Progress, speaks during an introduction for New Start New Jersey at NJIT in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
“It is possible, it is necessary to end this notion that the enemy is the other party,” Biden told the crowd of Washington notables at the Mondale gala. “End this notion that it is naïve to think we can speak well of the other party and cooperation. What is naïve is to think it is remotely possible to govern this country unless we can. That is what is naïve.”
The week prior to this event, Clinton was asked to name which enemy she has made in her career that she was most proud of and responded with a list. “Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians; probably the Republicans,” she said.
Biden considered running against Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination around this time. He named her in his speech at the gala, saying she was “great” in her post as the nation’s top diplomat, but couldn’t carry the same weight speaking to foreign leaders that he could.
The day after Tanden’s email was sent, Biden announced he would not be running against Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president.
The Biden team declined to comment on the email. If confirmed by the Senate, Tanden will be the first Indian-American and first woman of color to serve as the director of the OMB.