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WikiLeaks emails show Garcetti was possible VP pick — along with some tension

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti may have fumbled his endorsement of then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last fall, but it didn’t knock him off the list of potential vice presidential candidates, according to new emails released by WikiLeaks. 

The website has been posting thousands of emails hacked from the private account of John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. A spokeswoman for the mayor declined to comment on the emails that mention Garcetti. 

In a March 2016 email to Clinton, Podesta offered a list of 39 potential vice presidential candidates. The names were divided by ethnicity, gender, military and business experience or “rough food groups,” according to the email.

Garcetti’s name appeared alongside Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. 

Last November, Garcetti endorsed Clinton in a written statement sent from the mayor’s office. An hour later, the office sent out a second release that read: “Today’s statement on Hillary Clinton was sent in error.” A spokesman later clarified that Garcetti’s office should not have used government resources to send a campaign-related announcement. 

Other emails posted by WikiLeaks show the campaign’s internal discussions leading up to an initial meeting between the mayor and Clinton. 

Garcetti’s deputy chief of staff “Rick Jacobs called to say he really doesn’t want to do this brief meeting at a fundraiser,” Podesta wrote in a June 2015 email. “I was pretty cold and said we would consider meeting some time in the future. Maybe he can hold out to be [Martin O’Malley’s] VP.”

Clinton aide Huma Abedin responded, “He’s a tough one for us. Never really had a relationship. So he bailed?”

During the 2008 election, Garcetti was an early and enthusiastic supporter of then-Sen. Barack Obama. He went on to serve as a California co-chairman for the campaign. 

The emails’ earliest mention of Garcetti came in November 2008, when Podesta asked, “Did we figure out whether he is Italian or Latino?”

The answer: “Eric Garcetti is a 4th generation Angelino descendant of Mexican immigrants … but again … they don’t consider him Hispanic.”

alice.walton@latimes.com

Twitter: @TheCityMaven

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