Biden tells Sanders he’s moving forward with VP search

Democratic presidential hopefuls former Vice President Joe Biden (R) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders take part in the ninth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign. (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden says he’s pushing ahead with his search for a running mate and revealed that he had a conversation with Sen. Bernie Sanders - his last remaining rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Speaking with donors during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night, the former vice president and all-but-certain Democratic nominee said: “I am in the process and I actually had this discussion with Bernie. He’s a friend. We’re competitors. He’s a friend.”

While there’s been discussions between Biden and Sanders campaign officials, this was the first admission by Biden that he’s talked directly with Sanders since the race for the Democratic nomination became a two-candidate race last month.

Thanks to his sweeping primary victories over the populist senator from Vermont in March, Biden’s widened his lead in the race for convention delegates to more than 300 over Sanders and has cemented his standing as the defacto nominee. But Sanders – while reassessing his campaign – has to date resisted ending his White House bid, saying he still has a “narrow path.”

“I don’t want him to think I’m being presumptuous but you have to start now deciding who you’re going to have background checks done on as potential vice presidential candidates and it takes time,” Biden told donors according to a pool report of the fundraising event.

Biden also said that his campaign will unveil a committee to vet potential running mates “sometime in the middle of the month," and added he has also held discussions with others about positions in a potential Biden administration cabinet.

“One of the ways to deal with age is to build a bench – to build a bench of younger, really qualified people who haven’t had the exposure that others have had but are fully capable of being the leaders of the next 4, 8, 12, 16 years to run the country,” the 77-year old Biden said.

And Biden also disclosed that he’s talked with his old boss – former President Barack Obama – for advice on choosing a running mate

“So I called President Obama, not as to who but how soon you have to start,” he shared.

Fox News’ Allie Raffa and Madeleine Rivera contributed to this report.