With just weeks remaining in Joe Biden's search for the perfect running mate, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., had emerged as a Democratic darling checking a number of boxes in the vetting process.
She fits Biden's desire to nominate a woman of color as a Thai-American born in Bangkok to an immigrant mother and a Department of Defense father. She is a wounded veteran, losing both her legs fighting in Iraq. She is a mother, becoming the first senator to give birth while holding office.
And, most of all, she is a fighter, as evidenced by the public verbal sparring with conservative TV personality Tucker Carlson of Fox News.
"I've been working my rear end off, trying to get Joe to look at her favorably," West Coast Democratic fundraiser Joe Cotchett told Politico.
"If you put Tammy Duckworth on the ballot, a lot of veterans are saying to me, 'Boy, she represents not only the Midwest, but she represents what our party is all about,'" Cotchett said. "Having no legs, to me, is an attribute in this insane election year. It brings to the table a veteran who has been severely wounded that's speaking out for women and veterans and showing that she's someone who can take on 'Cadet Bone Spurs.'"
The fact she is a number of firsts adds to her allure.
- First Thai American woman elected to Congress.
- First born in Thailand elected to Congress.
- First woman with a disability elected to Congress.
- First female double amputee in the Senate.
- First senator to give birth while in office.
"As this thing gets closer to the selection and as Sen. Duckworth's profile gets elevated, there's a lot of excitement among donors," longtime Duckworth fundraiser John Atkinson told Politico. "Universally it's, 'She'd be fantastic for the ticket. She'd be great.'
"The common theme is that as Trump continues to try and politicize our military or wrap himself in the flag to suit his political fortunes, or to attack the Constitution she fought to protect, Tammy is in a unique position to challenge him aggressively and authentically."
She was effective in attacking President Donald Trump already, rebuking his July 3 Mount Rushmore speech because "he spent all of his time talking about dead traitors."
When Carlson pointed out Trump never mentioned the Confederacy in the speech, only American heroes, ripping her for condemning something she never even watched, Duckworth told Carlson to "walk a mile in my legs."
It was show of fight appealing to the base, against the tough talk of Trump.
Also, Duckworth has close ties to the Obama administration and Biden, having introduced the candidate's late son Beau at the Democratic National Convention.
"Here's the thing about Tammy: She is a perfect biographical candidate, and she wears that biography on her sleeve, and it's really, really difficult to attack her because of it," former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who lost his seat to Duckworth in 2012.
"Every other word out of her mouth was about her service. That bugged me because I couldn't find a way to attack her."
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