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Howard Dean reads 'tea leaves' on Clinton VP pick, focusing on 2 names

A clue to Hillary Clinton's running mate pick might lie with the possible vice presidential choices not scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention next week in Philadelphia, Howard Dean told CNBC on Monday.

The convention committee released the initial speakers list Friday, slotting on the first night Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who fiercely fought Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. But two names were notably missing.

"Two people who were not on it were [Sens.] Elizabeth Warren and Tim Kaine," said Dean, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. "The tea leaves on this ... are so interesting."

"[That] means, they haven't been given speaker slots because they may be saved for a much bigger speaker slot," he told "Squawk Box."

Warren of Massachusetts, a champion of the far left, is seen a someone who would be acceptable to the supporters of Sanders. But as a vocal critic of the financial industry, many Wall Street donors have expressed outrage over Warren as a possibility.

While Warren might give Clinton more credibility with voters who supported Sanders, Kaine from Virginia is viewed as the safe choice. Even Bill Daley, former commerce secretary for Bill Clinton and chief of staff for Barack Obama, said on "Squawk Box" last month that Kaine is a "solid former governor from a swing state."

Whomever Clinton chooses, Dean said it would be smart to wait until this week's Republican National Convention is over.

"It's unlikely you're going to upstage the Republican National Convention with a VP pick," he said. "We want the VP pick to have the maximum exposure. My guess is it's either over the weekend or early in the [Democratic] convention week, next week."

Asked whether he'd be chosen by Clinton, Dean said, jokingly, "It won't be Howard Dean."

With the GOP convention starting Monday, Clinton has a 5 point lead nationally over presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Dean, an ex-governor of Vermont and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said he lobbied for Clinton's VP pick to be under the age of 50. "I just think it's time we turned the country over to the next generation."

"It's not going to happen this election. But I think we can prepare for the future," Dean said.

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