The directive rewards many years of presidents of potential running mates, who often play publicly about the vice presidential ambitions while simultaneously running private campaigns to be picked. In a series of interviews with CNN, assistants, former bosses and friends of many years say that justice reflects who Abrams has been all her adult life: A black woman raised in Mississippi and Georgia who feels she is not sincere about her ambitions, she will come above.
It's an argument Abrams made in the early stages of the Bee's running mate search. Abrams used a talk with donors this month to explain that no one asked her to lead as a young black girl in Mississippi, so she learned to raise her hand and make it known that she wanted a position of power, said a source in the conversation.
Counselors say that CNN Abrams has had aspirations to be president since her days at Spelman College, and as a student she created a spreadsheet of career goals that she still uses today.
And Abram's aides tell CNN that the former gubernatorial candidate feels that she has always had to broadcast her credentials and aspirations high. It's that backdrop, they explain, that leads her to talk openly about her credentials to be vice president.
Abrams said Thursday: "I don't mince words because I grew up around politicians who wanted to tell you what you want to hear but not tell you the truth, and I was raised to believe that you were telling the truth." As a woman of color, as a black woman, as a person of color, I can't be shy about my response, because all the hint that I don't think I'm qualified, that I don't think we can be used as a justification for saying we can't . "
For Abrams, there have been many words not to chop.
The Democratic politician, who emerges from her suburban home in Atlanta, has been ubiquitous for the past two weeks, just as Biden and his top advisers are beginning to look for a running mate.
"I try to be fair, because while we hope the work speaks for itself, sometimes it needs a hype man," Abrams told The View this month. "And I learned early on that if I didn't speak for myself, I couldn't tell the story."
To Eliza Leighton, who met Abrams when they were both in college, that's what she saw in her girlfriend decades ago.
"She has such a strong sense of self and confidence to be who she is despite being raised in an America where black women have not received all the benefits and have had many barriers," Leighton said. "She was so clear herself and so true to herself and unwilling to renounce."
Abrams first ran for the position in 2007 when she won her Georgia House seat. Over the next ten years, she built a reputation as a hard worker and read full-time in the legislature, a position that helped her launch a gubernatorial campaign in 2017 – a bid that would make her the country's first black woman leader.
However, the loss made Abrams a known and sought-after Democrat, with almost every presidential candidate in 2020 wanting to associate with her in any way. After the election, Abrams founded Fair Fight, an organization that advocates voter protection across the country.
To Jessica Byrd, who served as Abrams's chief of staff in her 2018 gubernatorial bid, her former boss & # 39; s ubiquitous position when Biden openly discusses who should make his running mate, only Abrams builds on her work.
But, she added, any suggestion that her open ambition is misplaced is "both very well known and very frustrating."
"I also know how black female leaders can be used by white politicians and white men," Byrd said. "And I think Stacey has found herself in a position where it was very important to mention dropping her in the 2020 primary, and almost every candidate did. And when she pointed out the question of her ambition, she began to be criticized before."
Shirley Franklin, the former Atlanta mayor for whom Abrams worked during his time as deputy city attorney, said this directive shows how women – especially black women – feel that they must be direct or at risk of being transferred.
"She thinks women are often transferred and that they have to speak up for themselves, so why shouldn't they," Franklin said. "And you can't argue with that. Women are surpassed!"
Abrams also addressed this matter and told CNN this month that it is an "important signal to have someone with colors on the ticket" because for "communities of color, especially for the black community, there must be a recognition that their needs will be covered. "
Many of Abram's friends and colleagues refute this argument – and are honest when asked what it would mean to have a black woman on the ticket.
"It would excite people beyond anything that could be done. It would carry Georgia," said DeBose Porter, a longtime friend of Abrams and the Democratic Party leader during her gubernatorial run. "If you wanted to create the magic for the Obama-Biden team, you would do best with a Biden-Abrams ticket."
For Byrd, a Biden-Abrams ticket would not only help the Democrats, it could be one of the only avenues for victory over Trump.
"I don't think we can win the Democratic primary with two white candidates at the top of the ticket," Byrd said. "I think it's a strategic imperative that we have a black woman standing next to Joe Biden."