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Amy Klobuchar drops out of Biden VP contention and says he should choose a woman of color

Sen. Amy Klobuchar removed herself from consideration to be Joe Biden's running mate, citing the recent national unrest surrounding racial injustice and police brutality to suggest the former vice president should choose a woman of color. By Paul LeBlanc and Jasmine Wright, CNN

(CNN) -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Thursday night removed herself from consideration to be Joe Biden's running mate, citing the ongoing national discussion about racial injustice and police brutality to suggest the former vice president should choose a woman of color.

"This is a historic moment, and America must seize on this moment. And I truly believe as, I actually told the vice president last night when I called him, that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket," Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell.

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"And there are so many incredibly qualified women, but if you want to heal this nation right now, my party ... this is sure a hell of a way to do it."

Biden offered warm words for Klobuchar shortly after her comments to MSNBC.

"Amy — from the moment you announced you were running for president in a snowstorm, it wasn't hard to see you had the grit and determination to do anything you set your mind to," Biden tweeted. "You know how to get things done. With your help, we're going to beat Donald Trump."

Klobuchar was touted for months as a promising vice presidential candidate due to her centrist appeal and name recognition following her own White House bid. But her prospects had waned in recent weeks as Biden faces increasing pressure to choose a woman of color as his running mate in the aftermath of George Floyd's death at the hands of police officers.

Floyd's death in Minneapolis reignited long festering Democratic concerns about Klobuchar's criminal justice record and the seven years she spent as the top prosecutor in Minnesota's most populous county, a position she secured by promising to be tough on crime.

The resurgence of questions about her criminal justice record -- along with what many saw as her inability to address long-running accusations of racism inside the Minneapolis police force and her failure to bring charges against multiple officers involved in shootings during her time as a top prosecutor -- had led some inside the Democratic Party to outright say they would question Biden's judgment and commitment to Black voters if he picked Klobuchar as his running mate.

Klobuchar made the decision Wednesday after multiple conversations with staffers and family, according to an aide. The decision was made independently, with "zero pressure" from the Biden campaign.

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After suspending her own presidential bid in early March, Klobuchar was the first 2020 primary candidate with a number of delegates to announce she would endorse Biden.

She insisted that Biden could bring the country together and build a coalition of Democrats, independents and Republicans "because we do not in our party want to just eke by a victory. We want to win big." In her concession speech, Klobuchar replaced her own name with Biden's."I think you know you have a home with Joe Biden," she said, altering a popular stump line.

Biden himself has not committed to picking a black woman, telling CNN's Dana Bash last month: "There are women of color under consideration and there are women from every part of the country under consideration because there are a lot of really qualified women that are ready to be president."

"But I'm not making that commitment. I'm going to make that judgment after in fact this group goes through interviewing all these people," he said.

Biden has said he hopes to pick his running mate around August 1.

This story has been updated to include additional reaction and background information.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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