March 16, 2020 / 1:22 AM / 16 days ago

Democratic White House contender Biden says he would pick a woman as vice president

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN's Washington studios without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, who had hinted he might choose a woman as his vice presidential running mate if he is picked as the party’s nominee, committed to doing so during his debate with rival Bernie Sanders on Sunday.

“If I’m elected president, my Cabinet, my administration, will look like the country, and I commit that I will in fact appoint and pick a woman as vice president. There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman as my vice president,” Biden said.

There were originally a record-breaking six women vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November - U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson.

Only Gabbard remains in the race, although she is polling below 5% nationally and was not eligible to participate in the debate.

Sanders said that “in all likelihood,” he would choose a woman as his running mate, but did not make as firm a commitment.

“In all likelihood, I will. To me, it’s not just nominating a woman, it is making sure that we have a progressive woman, and there are progressive women out there. So my very strong tendency is to move in that direction,” Sanders said.

Two women were previously nominated by the major parties for U.S. vice president - - Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Both their tickets were defeated. Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major party, lost to Trump in 2016.

Reporting by Amanda Becker, Trevor Hunnicutt and Simon Lewis; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Peter Cooney

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