Sen. Obama And His Fully Vetted Running Mate, Joe Biden

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Over the course of two months, as the dynamics of the presidential campaign and world events shifted quickly, Biden's stock rose through one of the most rigorous vice-presidential vetting processes that Democrats could recall. It was a process in which Obama applied intense secrecy, careful pragmatism and political input from a team of internal and external advisers that have guided his campaign from the start.

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As the vetting team sorted through Biden's financial statements, political statements and medical records, Obama's top political aides — Axelrod chief among them — reached out to friends in Obama's orbit to get a sense of what sort of politician Biden was.