Sen. Kamala Harris had ‘no remorse’ for attacking Joe Biden in the first Democratic debate over his position on busing, she revealed when being interviewed to serve as his vice president.
‘She laughed and said, “that politics.” She had no remorse,’ said former Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of Biden’s vice presidential search committee, a quip relayed to Politico by a longtime supporter and donor.
The donor added, ‘Dodd felt it was a gimmick, that it was cheap.’
Dodd declined to comment to Politico for the piece, as did advisers for Harris.
The donor who gave Politico Dodd’s quotes said he was so concerned about Harris becoming the vice presidential candidate that he helped elevate another Californian, Rep. Karen Bass, during the ongoing vetting process.
‘She’s a loyal No. 2. And that’s what Biden really wants,’ the source said.
Bass was the former speaker of the California State Assembly and is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Biden told MSNBC’s Joy Reid, during the first live broadcast of her new show ‘The Reidout’ last Monday that there were four black women being vetted as part of his VP search.
‘I am not committed to naming anyone but the people I’ve named, among them there are four black women,’ Biden told Reid.
Harris and Bass are two of the black women in the running.
The problem with Harris, Politico reported, was the issue of trust.
Harris’ attack on Biden at the first Democratic primary debate in June 2019 in Miami, Florida was emotional – but some Democrats also thought it was disingenuous when it came out later that Harris and Biden held practically the same position on the issue of busing.
‘I do not believe you are a racist,’ Harris said onstage, focusing in on Biden. ‘I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. It’s personal.’
‘It was actually hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country,’ she continued.
Harris was referring to remarks Biden had make a week before at a New York fundraiser. Biden talked about working with the late Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, who were Democrats and pro-segregation.
‘Well guess what?’ Biden said. ‘At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished,’ Biden said. ‘But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.’
Sen. Cory Booker, who was also running for president at the time, said Biden should apologize and on the debate stage, Harris attacked.
‘It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing,’ she told Biden. ‘There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. She was bused to school every day.’
‘That little girl was me,’ Harris said.
It became the line of the night – and pundits predicted it spelled Harris’ ascent and signaled Biden’s demise.
Harris dropped out of the presidential race before the first Democratic voters went to the polls.
But because Harris ran for president she’s considered ‘Tier 1,’ one former Biden adviser told Politico, while ‘everyone else is Tier 1B.’
‘All of those people, they have the challenge of the Harris bar – it is just so high,’ the source continued. ‘She checks everything that’s so important to him.’
And Democratic strategist Karen Finney told Politico that having a national profile will be especially handy in the COVID era.
‘The reality is you have a short period of time and you’re trying to win the election,’ Finney said. ‘How you do it is also challenging, given the COVID reality. You’re not able to do the big rally.’