Unprompted, White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday mentioned Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) as someone President Obama would recommend to Hillary Clinton as a vice-presidential pick.

Earnest confirmed that Obama has weighed in on Clinton's vetting process, but the spokesman did not say exactly what advice the president gave. He tossed out Kaine's name as someone qualified. Many Democrats see Kaine as the leading candidate to join Clinton on the ticket. She is expected to name a running mate as soon as Friday.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Obama was among those providing advice to Clinton.

Earnest noted that Obama often calls his selection of Vice President Biden as running mate "the smartest political decision that he has ever made."

"So when you consider how well that turned out, it seems natural that Secretary Clinton might consult President Obama about the process that he undertook to choose Vice President Biden," Earnest told reporters during the daily White House briefing.

Earnest also offered praise for Tom Vilsack and Thomas Perez, both sitting Cabinet members and vice-presidential prospects.

"These are individuals who are serious, who are focused on the right things. They've got their values in line. These are two men who have dedicated their lives to public service and they're in it for the right reasons," he said. "And so, I guess my point is the reason that President Obama entrusted them with the responsibilities that they have now, which are substantial — their success in doing that job is exactly the same reason that people speculate that Secretary Clinton might be inclined to give them even more responsibility."

Earnest made a point of saying that Obama considered Kaine “one of his own,” even though he hadn’t served in the Cabinet. The senator was "one of the first public officials" to endorse Obama during his first White House bid, the spokesman added, was vetted as a potential running mate in 2008 and chaired the Democratic National Committee right after Obama took office.

"And so, I don't know if the president has a specific favorite, but I know the president is extraordinarily proud of all three of those individuals," he added. "And, ultimately, he's going to defer to Secretary Clinton to make a decision that she believes is best."