02:01 - Source: CNN
Stacey Abrams on 2020: You don't run for second place
CNN —  

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams said Wednesday that “you don’t run for second place” when asked about the possibility of being Joe Biden’s running mate during the 2020 Democratic primary, saying that she is “open to a number of options right now.”

In an interview on “The View,” Abrams explained that “if I’m going to enter a primary, then I’m going to enter a primary. If I don’t enter a primary, my job is to make certain that the best Democrat becomes the nominee and whoever wins the primary, that we make sure that person gets elected in 2020.”

Pressed on whether she would consider an Abrams-Biden ticket, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate said, “I’m open to a number of options right now, I’ve got plenty of options.”

“I do not know if I’m running. I’m thinking about everything. Part of my opportunity right now is that I have a number of options I didn’t know about before. The Senate race, running for governor again, possibly running for president,” she explained.

“Running in a primary to be the vice president is very different than someone who has been selected by the party to be the nominee asking you to serve as a partner. I am open to all options,” Abrams said.

Abrams, a Democratic rising star who lost her bid to be Georgia’s governor last fall, also talked about meeting with Biden and more in an earlier interview on CBS This Morning, saying that she “did indeed” have lunch with Biden, and that “we talked about a lot of things, but [the vice presidency] was not the core issue.”

Her meeting with Biden, as well as other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, have further stoked speculation about her political future.

Biden requested the meeting with Abrams, according to a person familiar with the sit-down, as the two consider their own respective political futures. As he prepares for a possible run, one subject of discussion has been the early selection of a running mate, which one aide said would help keep the focus of the primary fight on the ultimate goal of unseating Trump.

A person familiar with the meeting said Biden and Abrams discussed a variety of topics on policy and politics, including whether she intends to run for Senate next year. The vice presidency was not formally discussed during their meeting, two people familiar with the meeting tell CNN.

On both “The View” and CBS, Abrams was also asked about increasing scrutiny of Biden’s record as he mulls a run for president – in particular, his handling of the Anita Hill hearings nearly 30 years ago while chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his past positions on school desegregation.

“Here’s what I would say,” Abrams replied on CBS. “In my book, ‘Lead from the Outside,’ I talk about the fact that we make mistakes based on the information we have at the time. And one of our responsibilities is to create space for people to understand that mistakes happen, and that you can grow.”

Abrams continued, “What I hope anyone running for president will do is acknowledge mistakes made, talk about what you’ve learned, and then apply those new lessons to how you intend to lead.”

On “The View,” Abrams elaborated, saying that “we have to remember apologies aren’t for the person who committed an offense. They’re for the recipient and the measure should be do people feel their values have been heard and that you are truly repentant… This is true for everyone running. We will make apologies because we’re asking people to trust us. People cannot trust you if they don’t know that you know who you are and what you’ve done. But once you’ve admitted and you’ve offered atonement, then we should move onto the next phase.”

She continued, “I think he has begun the process. But this is going to be a long primary and there are going to be a lot of questions. And I think he’s tough enough to take it.”

Abrams was also asked if “this is the year,” with a historically diverse Democratic presidential field, that a woman or minority ends up being the presidential nominee.

“I believe so,” she said. “For me, the conversation that led to me writing ‘Lead from the Outside’ is that we have to start evolving what the face of leadership looks like.”

On CBS, Abrams also pointed out that she’s “having lunch and coffee and drinks and water with everyone running for president who is willing to talk to me,” prompting a discussion of her own future plans.

In addition to Biden, Abrams has held meetings with Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California, as well as former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. She spoke to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the phone.

“When you drink alone, are you having drinks with somebody who is thinking about running for president?” CBS This Morning co-anchor John Dickerson asked.

“Yes, we have sipped English breakfast tea together in the morning,” Abrams joked.

She continued, “I am deeply appreciative of those who have encouraged me to run for a variety of offices. I will say the presidency wasn’t top of mind to begin with, but I think that the success I had in our election, transforming the electorate, the work I’ve done as a business leader, as a civic leader, and as a political leader, positions me to be just as capable of becoming the president of the United States as anyone running. My responsibility, though, is to make sure I’m running for the right reasons and at the right time. And this is not the conversation I was having with myself last year.”

CNN’s Arlette Saenz and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.