Even as a pandemic has trapped voters and candidates indoors and consumed American politics, one key element of the presidential campaign may remain virtually unaltered: the vice presidential selection process. Five to eight candidates are now being seriously considered, CBS News campaign reporters Bo Erickson,Zak Hudak and Alex Tin have learned, though the sources said a “dark horse” candidate could be added.  The first stage of the search has likely already begun, say veterans of past vice presidential picks, with aides scouring the internet, press clippings, and public records. This probe can largely be carried out even during quarantine. Once Biden’s list is sufficiently narrowed, vetters need shortlisters’ cooperation to continue the audition. Potential running mates must complete lengthy questionnaires, turn over troves of personal records, and submit their families to invasive interrogations of their public and private lives. Several running mate finalists recounted thorough searches by vetters, uncovering embarrassing details untouched even by other official and campaign background checks. Social distancing wrought by the spread of COVID-19 has already reshaped one assessment: a potential running mate’s performance on stage with the nominee’s message. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer fueled speculation last week, joining Biden on his campaign’s podcast. Another rumored running mate — California Senator Kamala Harris — called in Wednesday to a

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