Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday to help him defeat President Donald Trump this November, a historic choice that acknowledges the role black voters will play in the election.
Harris, 55, is the first black woman to have the number two spot on the Democratic ticket. In choosing her, Biden picked a former rival for the nomination who gained admiration for her campaign skills and was a top contender for the vice presidential nomination as soon as her own bid ended.
Biden informed supporters of his choice via text message and social media posts as speculation mounted over the past few days his choice was imminent.
‘I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris – a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants – as my running mate,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.
‘Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump,’ read the text message from the campaign.
The two will make an appearance Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
‘I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief,’ Harris wrote on Twitter after her announcement.
Democrats rallied around Biden’s choice with tributes to Harris pouring in from her rivals for the running mate slot and from the most famous names in the party.
‘Joe Biden nailed this decision,’ former President Barack Obama said in a statement. ‘Choosing a vice president is the first important decision a president makes.’
Obama has known Harris, who serves as a senator from California, for years. She was an early supporter of his 2008 presidential campaign and he offered her the Attorney General spot in his administration when she was California’s top cop but she turned down the chance to lead the Justice Department.
‘Joe has an ideal partner to help tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and the year ahead,’ Obama said and concluded with: ‘Now let’s go win this thing.’
At the White House however, Donald Trump called Harris ‘nasty,’ said he was surprised that Biden would pick someone who was ‘disrespectful’ to him and assailed her calling her ‘the most liberal senator.’ His campaign called her ‘phony,’ although when he was asked about that description he said ‘oh,’ suggesting he might not have been aware of the attack.
The Democratic ticket became formalized during a time of economic turmoil, racial unrest and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravish the country, infecting more than 5 million Americans and killing more than 150,000 people.
Trump has received poor ratings from voters in his handling of the pandemic and race relations, which many see as giving Biden an opening to win the White House. Biden leads Trump in most national polls.
Biden, in making his choice, also acknowledged that Harris was a close friend of his beloved late son Beau, who died of complications from brain cancer in 2015.
‘Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.
Harris was attorney general of California when Beau, Biden’s late son, was attorney general of Delaware.
In all, 11 women were considered by Biden to join him on the ticket, a mix of senators, governors, mayors and members of Congress.
Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is considered a safe pick – a black woman whose past experience makes her qualified for the job, a compelling personal story, and a reliable member of the Democratic establishment.
A woman has never served as president or vice president. Two have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. And Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee in 2016. None of those campaigns were successful.
Biden’s pick was closely watched given his age. If he wins in November, Biden would be 78 when he’s inaugurated in January 2021, the oldest man to ever assume the presidency. He’s called himself a transition figure and has not fully committed to serving two terms.
Trump’s campaign has already gone on the attack against Harris.
‘She is proof that Joe Biden is an empty shell being filled with the extreme agenda of the radicals on the left,’ Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson said in a statement.
And President Trump slammed her during his White House press conference on Tuesday, noting her tough questioning of his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during that contentious confirmation hearing and he said she was ‘nasty’ to Biden during the primary.
‘She was very, very nasty,’ he said. ‘She was probably nastier even than Pocahontas to Joe Biden,’ he noted, comparing Harris to Elizabeth Warren and using his derogatory nickname for the Massachusetts senator.
‘She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden. It is hard to pick somebody that is disrespectful. She said things during the debate during the Democratic primary debates that were horrible about Sleepy Joe. And I would think that he would not have picked her,’ Trump noted, referring to the primary debate where Harris criticized Biden’s record on a school busing program.
He also pointed to what he called the ‘horrible’ way she treated Kavanaugh. ‘I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate.’
Harris, a former prosecutor, was praised by Democrats for her tough questioning of Kavanaugh during his hearing.
Trump also claimed Harris is the most liberal person in the Senate, which is not true. There are many more Democratic senators who sit to the left of her. ‘She is also known, from what I understand, as being just about the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate,’ he said.
Harris, 55, launched her career as the city’s district attorney, became California’s attorney general and moved on to the Senate in 2016 after Senator Barbara Boxer retired.
Her national profile increased when she drew on her experience as a lawyer to engage in political combat, whether it was with President Donald Trump’s officials and nominees in Senate hearings or with Biden on the Democratic debate stage.
The vetting team advising Biden – led by former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd – was reported to have ended its work on Monday.
Biden did not show his hand, joking around with reporters in public appearances over the weekend but offering no indication of who he would chose. He had spoken with all the contenders either in person or remotely due to restrictions in place by the coronavirus.
The presumptive Democratic nominee originally said he would announce his running mate the first week of August but that timeline has been pushed back.
He’s also vowed to name a woman to the ticket and pressure was on him to name a black woman, particularly in the wake of the death of George Floyd, which has seen Black Lives Matter demonstrations spring up around the country.
Hundreds of influential black leaders, celebrities and organizers sent missives to the Biden campaign asking him to chose a black woman, The Washington Post reported, and warned him he will lose the election without one by his side.
‘Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means YOU WILL lose the election,’ read a letter more than 100 prominent black men sent to the Biden Team. ‘Vice President Biden: don’t take that risk. Black women are defining the future of politics so it’s time you let one define the future of your campaign.’
Signers include rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, radio show host Lenard McKelvey (a.k.a. Charlamagne tha God), actor Cedric Kyles (a.k.a. Cedric the Entertainer), and commentator Van Jones.
The pressure campaign on Biden increased after reports he had a one-on-one interview with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is white. Also in contention was Senator Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of the left wing of the party.
Other black contenders included former National Security Adviser Susan Rice; Reps. Val Demings and Karen Bass; former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams; and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom.
All the women has been subject to a flood of opposition research the past few weeks with some of the coverage deemed sexist and unfair.
Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on Harris’ entry to the race. He will debate her at the October 7 vice presidential debate, which is scheduled for Salt Lake City.
‘Let me take this opportunity to welcome her to the race,’ he said during an event in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon. ‘Congratulations. I’ll see you in Salt Lake City!’
Biden spent the weekend at his family’s beach home in Rehoboth, Delaware, but returned to Wilmington on Monday to get ready for his big announcement.
He stoked the speculation during several public sightings while out in the beach town.
On Saturday, during an impromptu bike ride where he wore a face mask, Biden was asked by a Fox News reporter whether he had picked his running.
‘Yes,’ Biden said and added he was picking the reporter. Biden staff said the former vice president was joking.
And, after attending church on Sunday, Biden was again asked if he’d made a decision.
‘Are you ready,’ he responded.
Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants, whose career was defined by a series of firsts – first black woman to serve as San Francisco’s district attorney and as the first black woman to serve California’s attorney general – has added another first to that list: first black woman vice presidential candidate.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden named his former rival for the nomination to the number two spot on Tuesday, giving her a place by his side as he works to defeat President Donald Trump this November.
Harris, 55, made a name for herself in San Francisco both in her work as a prosecutor and in the society pages for her friendships with the city’s elite and her relationship with former mayor Willie Brown.
She launched her career as the city’s district attorney, became California’s attorney general and moved on to the Senate in 2016 after Senator Barbara Boxer retired.
Her national profile increased when she drew on her experience as a lawyer to engage in political combat, whether it was with President Donald Trump’s officials and nominees in Senate hearings or with Biden on the Democratic debate stage.
It was that spanking on the debate stage – when she criticized Biden for his standing on a federal busing program that benefited minorities, including herself – that elevated her to the top tier of presidential candidates. It also earned her a nickname from Trump, who dubbed her ‘Phony Kamala’.
Biden looked visibly taken aback when Harris told him on the debate stage in Miami last July: ‘There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day, and that little girl was me.’
The moment helped her jump in the polls and rake in a quick $2 million in fundraising but her campaign was down hill from there, falling behind in polling and fundraising as Harris struggled with her message and was beset by internal staff squabbles.
In November, she laid off staff and pinned all her hopes on Iowa. But, a month later on December 3, 2019, she dropped out of the presidential race two months before Iowa held its caucuses.
In a touch of political irony, it was an early focus on health care policy and economic issues during the primary season that hurt her campaign as neither area was one of her strengths.
But the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota black man who died on May 25 after white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, brought race relations to the forefront of the country and saw Black Lives Matter demonstrations spring up around the nation.
Biden had vowed to name a woman as his running mate. Harris’ name was already on the list but, after Floyd’s death, pressure increased on the Democratic nominee to name a black woman.
Harris became a top contender for the number two spot, along with former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Senator Elizabeth Warren and several other prominent women.
In all, 11 women are said to have been considered, a mix of senators, governors, mayors and members of Congress.
And, as Harris’ name rose on the contender list, there was speculation that debate moment might count against her. Jill Biden told supporters that Harris’s comment was like a ‘punch to the gut.’
Also, there was a report in Politico that some of Biden’s allies worried about the California senator joining the ticket, saying she was too ‘ambitious’ – which was seen as an insult to her given her qualifications to hold the office.
Biden literally had the answers to all that a July 28 press conference in Wilmington when an Associated Press photographer captured the writing on his note pad, which was filled with praise for Harris: ‘Do not hold grudges.’ ‘Campaigned with me & Jill.’ ‘Talented.’ ‘Great help to campaign.’ ‘Great respect for her.’
Harris’ ties to the Biden family go back to the eldest son Beau, who died of complications of brain cancer in May 2015. The two connected when they served as attorneys general in their respective states. They used each other as sounding boards and texted often, mutual friends told the Associated Press last year.
Beau introduced Harris to his father, who was serving as Barack Obama’s vice president at the time. Joe Biden endorsed Harris early on in her Senate campaign, noting she was a friend of his son.
‘Beau always supported her,’ he said in his endorsement.
‘She’d been welcomed into the fold, and that’s basically forever with the Bidens,’ a friend of the family told The Daily Beast last month as Harris’ went through the vice presidential vetting process.
Harris’ start in politics came far from the Biden family, at the opposite end of the country in San Francisco, a city proud of its political names: Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, Dianne Feinstein and Willie Brown.
And Harris added her name to that list.
She made it partly through Brown. The two started dating in the spring of 1994, when she showed up at his date at several high-profile functions. She was 30 and Brown was 60, serving as the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly. He was then and still is married but lives apart from his wife. He’s had a series of girlfriends.
The two dated for a short period of time when he ran for mayor and broke up between his victory party and the swearing-in ceremony. Harris has since called their romance ‘an albatross’ around her neck.
But Brown opened doors for her as he opened doors for other politicians such as Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor who is now governor of California. Brown appointed Newsom to San Francisco Parking and Traffic Commission, and later, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors – positions that paved his path to the mayor’s office.
Brown arranged appointments for Harris on two state boards: California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Medical Assistance Commission. Together, the appointments paid her about four hundred thousand dollars over five years. He gave her a BMW.
She used her connections to join the city’s social elite. She joined the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and worked on causes like AIDS, appearing in the society pages as galas, fashion shows and posh socialite weddings.
In 2002, she challenged San Francisco’s incumbent district attorney, the progressive Terence Hallinan, who was her former boss. She quit the office – known for it disorganization and low conviction rates – and launched her campaign against him.
To combat the pictures of her in society publications she opened her campaign office in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, a historically nonwhite area.
She campaigned in front of post offices and grocery stores with an ironing board – calling it the first standing desk and showing the minority population how to turn an ordinary domestic tool into an instrument of executive power.
But she struggled to gain traction as the moderate candidate in a three-person race. Then candidate Bill Fazio, an ultra liberal, took out a campaign hit on Harris: ‘I don’t care if Willie Brown is Kamala Harris’ ex-boyfriend. What bothers me is that Kamala accepted two appointments from Willie Brown to high-paying, part-time state boards – including one she had no training for – while being paid $100,000-year as a full-time county employee.’
It backfired and vaulted Harris into a run off against Hallinan that she went on to win.
Her tenure as the city’s top cop was not without controversy, particularly a case that made national news.
In 2004, shortly after she took over in the DA’s office, she declined to pursue the death penalty for a gang member accused of shooting 29-year-old San Francisco cop Isaac Espinoza – despite heavy political pressure from the police union.
Harris had campaigned on the promise never to pursue the death penalty and stuck to that during the case.
The killer was sentenced to life in prison.
In 1973, California passed a law that made the murderer of a police officer eligible for the death penalty. Instead Harris’ office pursued a life in prison without parole conviction.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein was invited to give a eulogy at Espinoza’s funeral, where she called for the death penalty to be used in the case. Feinstein received a standing ovation from the hundreds of rank-and-file officers at the funeral as Harris sat in the front row.
Harris has made her prosecutorial experience one of her primary arguments for why she should take on President Donald Trump in 2020.
‘My whole life, I’ve only had one client: the people,’ Harris said in January 2019 when she formally launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
‘Fighting for the people meant fighting on behalf of survivors of sexual assault – a fight not just against predators but a fight against silence and stigma.’
She ran for California attorney general in 2010 and for Senate in 2016.
While in the Senate she made headlines for her questioning of Attorney General Bill Barr at a May 2019 hearing of the judiciary panel.
‘Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no, please, sir,’ she said to him. Barr stuttered and didn’t answer her question.
From her perch on judiciary she’s questioned a number of high-profile figures in hearings, including then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said Harris’ questions made him ‘nervous’; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
She was one of the female senators who called for Senator Al Franken to resign after allegations of sexual harassment. She voted for both counts of impeachment against President Trump, who was acquitted by the greater Senate.
Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, across the bay in a much less affluent neighborhood than the one in which she would make her mark.
Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was the daughter of an Indian diplomat and a women’s rights activist, graduated from the University of Delhi at nineteen, and, in order to avoid an arranged marriage, went to the University of California at Berkeley to pursue graduate studies. There, she met another graduate student, Donald Harris, from Jamaica, who was studying for his Ph.D. in economics, during a political protest.
Her parents divorced when she was seven. Gopalan, who was one of the most prominent breast cancer researchers in the country, is credited by Harris as introducing her to the civil rights movement and social activism.
‘My mother used to say, don’t sit around and complain about things, do something,’ Harris told 20,000 supporters at her kick-off rally in Oakland on Martin Luther King weekend 2019.
Gopalan died of colon cancer in 2009.
Harris’ father is still alive but the two are not close. He is a retired Stanford economics professor who studied issues like income inequality.
Harris began her career as a lawyer in 1990, after graduating from Howard University in Washington D.C. and the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.
She married Doug Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, at a small ceremony in 2014 after meeting him on a blind date the previous year. He has two children from a previous marriage: Cole and Ella. Harris calls herself ‘Momala,’ the name she says her stepchildren gave her.
She is close to her sister Maya, who served as her campaign chairwoman. She also helped raised her niece, Meena, who was born when Maya was 17.
Her first job was at the Alameda County district attorney’s office in Oakland, where Terence Hallinan plucked her to come work for him, starting her political ascendancy.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, the most powerful black Democrat in Congress, heralded Joe Biden’s pick of Sen. Kamala Harris for vice presidential, saying the choice excites ‘all women.’
‘I’m very pleased with it and they are pleased as well,’ Clyburn said, referencing his own reaction and that of his three daughters to the Harris announcement, which came Tuesday afternoon via text message. ‘And as are women all over this nation – not just African-American women, but all women I think are proud of this and are looking forward to a successful campaign.’
Clyburn spoke to reporters on a Zoom call as Democratic women, including some who were also vying for the veep spot, reacted positively to Harris as the pick.
‘Kamala Harris will be a great partner to Joe Biden in making our government a powerful force for good in the fight for social, racial, and economic justice,’ tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren who, like Harris, competed against Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary.
She was also considered for VP.
‘Senator Kamala Harris is a fearless and proven champion for American families and the rule of law. Excited about this team and America’s future,’ tweeted Rep. Val Demings, another woman the Biden campaign was reportedly vetting for the job.
Rep. Karen Bass, a California lawmaker and another woman under consideration, called Harris a ‘great choice’ for vice president.
‘California is better because of her work as Attorney General and stronger because of her work as Senator. Now all Americans will benefit from her work as Vice President,’ Bass wrote.
Susan Rice, another top contender, shared her ‘warmest congratulations’ to Harris on Twitter and described her as a ‘tenacious and trail-blazing leader.’
‘I am confident Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket,’ Rice said. ‘I will do my utmost to help them win and govern.’
Clyburn shared with reporters that he had a hunch that Biden had winnowed the pool down to Harris, Bass and Rice, while he said he previously believed Demings, the former Orlando police chief, ‘had the inside track.’
All the top candidates are black, though Harris respresents Asian-Americans as well, as her late mother was an Indian immigrant.
‘But in the last two or three days I had come to the conclusion that it was Harris, Bass and Rice. No one told me that, this is what I felt,’ Clyburn said.
And then, several hours before the pick was made public, Biden gave Clyburn a call and shared that the decision had been made and he was choosing Harris, a California senator who sits on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
Clyburn said he had been a ‘little bit concerned’ that he might spill Biden’s secret to his three daughters.
‘And hopefully they’ll forgive me for not letting the cat out of the bag because he called me this morning and I did not share the news with any of them,’ Clyburn said.
Clyburn said he didn’t put his thumb on the scale once a shortlist developed.
‘I did not recommend any one to him. I told him what I felt about each one that he asked me about,’ the South Carolina congressman said, complimenting potential picks that were Asian, LatinX, African-American and white.
He did reveal, however, that he talked to Biden a lot about the selection.
‘Yes, my advice was sought and I talked to him several times leading up to today. In fact, over the last four or five days I think I talked to him more than I talked to him all year,’ Clyburn said.
Clyburn’s endorsement before the February 29 South Carolina primary changed Biden’s fortunes after he performed badly in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
Things had started turning around for the former vice president a week before when he came in a distant second to Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses.
With his overwhelming comeback in the southern state, which is the first test of a candidate’s strength among black Democratic voters, Biden went on to best Sanders on Super Tuesday.
He also attracted the support of most moderates in the party including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and ex-Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
On March 8, several days after Biden’s Super Tuesday wins, Harris also endorsed the former veep.
Some Democrats have feared that her record as a prosecutor would come back to haunt her, particularly as Biden potentially looked for a woman of color to be his running mate in the aftermath of George Floyd’s Memorial Day death.
Clyburn said Tuesday that he didn’t think that was fair.
‘How can we ask to have police chiefs of color, prosecutors of color and then hold it against them once they get into the position?’ Clyburn asked. ‘That is foolhardy. We want people in every profession.’
‘Val was a good police chief and I believe Kamala was a good prosecutor,’ he added, referencing Demings as well as Harris.
Demings’ police chief past was also worrisome to some in the party, as Democrats strive to grab onto the momentum of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Harris was also being portrayed as being too ambitious to put on the ticket.
Clyburn knocked down this sentiment as well.
He called questions about Harris’ loyalty to Biden ‘problematic’ and suggested they were sexist.
‘I never heard anybody ask any man a question like that,’ Clyburn said. ‘You know, come on. When Bill Clinton picked Gore they had run against each other. When Obama picked Biden they had run against each other. They both had ambitions to be president.’
‘And I seem to remember that Biden said some things in the campaign that the media ran with and thought was problematic. Obama got beyond that,’ Clyburn continued. ‘And Biden demonstrated he can get beyond that as well.’
Months after her presidential campaign collapsed amid questions over her political identity, Kamala Harris suddenly and forcefully found her voice – and at a fortuitous time.
Harris, a 55-year-old U.S. senator from California, was chosen by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as his running mate on Tuesday, making history as the first Black woman and Asian-American on a major presidential ticket.
Her selection came as little surprise. With the United States in the midst of a reckoning over its history of racial injustice, Biden had increasingly been pressed to select a woman of color.
Harris, who became the Senate’s second Black woman in its history when she was elected in 2016, was always at the top of the list.
But Harris did anything but keep a low profile while Biden was making up his mind.
Instead, she emerged as a fierce advocate for police reform and social justice – in the Senate, in the streets, and on the airwaves, sparring with Republicans on the Senate floor and offering fiery critiques of Republican President Donald Trump.
‘She has been very resolute,’ said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, the longstanding civil rights and social justice advocacy group, which has worked with Harris on reform issues. ‘She has the ability to go toe-to-toe with anybody.’
For Harris, the barrier-breaking former prosecutor and California state attorney general, the moment provided a clarity of purpose that was often absent from her failed presidential bid.
After a strong start, Harris’ campaign quickly foundered amid strategic somersaults. First positioning herself as a progressive in the mold of reformers such as Senators
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Harris then tried to tack toward the center. Her position on healthcare, for example, became a mishmash.
She dropped out in December, before a single vote was cast in the Democratic nominating contests.
‘She was trying to play the middle a little bit and trying to be all things to all people,’ said Joel Payne, a Democratic strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Now, Payne said, ‘There is a little more of a defined voice. There’s more clarity to her public persona.’
Her background in law enforcement had been seen as a vulnerability early in the race for the party’s nomination. But her work of late has impressed some past doubters who say she did not do enough to investigate police shootings and too often sided with prosecutors in wrongful conviction cases in the past.
In the days after George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May, sparking a national conversation on race, Harris joined protesters in the streets of Washington.
On Capitol Hill, she, along with Senator Cory Booker, an African American who made his own bid for the presidency, became the drivers of the Democratic effort to battle police abuses and led the pushback against an alternative Republican police reform measure, which she blasted as ‘lip service.’
Her efforts received important recognition in early August when Ben Crump, the attorney for Floyd’s family, published an opinion article supporting her candidacy.
‘The case for me is simple: She’s been a change agent at every level of government – local, state, and federal – for 30 years,’ Crump wrote as the search for Biden’s running mate entered a final stage.
Lara Bazelon, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law who last year assailed Harris’ record as a prosecutor and attorney general, said Harris has made an ‘important shift’ on criminal justice. She now hopes Harris will become a leading adviser to Biden on the issue.
‘She got a good, hard shove to the left. I really hope she seizes that moment and resists the urge to drift toward safety and the center,’ Bazelon said.
While advocating for social justice publicly, Harris was also working to shore up her relationship with Biden. The two had long been friendly because of Harris’ friendship with Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, who served as Delaware’s attorney general and worked with Harris when she held the same position for her state.
‘Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,’ the elder Biden wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.’
But Harris’ relationship with Joe Biden was sorely tested last year when in a Democratic debate she battered Biden over his long-ago stance on mandatory busing for public school students. Biden’s wife, Jill, later said she viewed the attack as a ‘punch in the gut,’ while some Biden aides saw it as opportunistic.
Since she endorsed him in March, Harris has become a fierce advocate of his candidacy and an effective fundraiser on his behalf. Biden told reporters in August he had put the debate fracas behind him. ‘I don’t hold grudges,’ he said.
Even so, Harris had to survive a last-minute lobbying campaign against her selection, one that included close Biden allies, over concerns she was too politically ambitious and would not put Biden’s interests ahead of hers. That push, in turn, sparked a backlash among Harris’ supporters who called the arguments sexist.
Harris has used the time since her campaign exit well, Payne said.
‘She realized that one of her vulnerabilities was her background as a prosecutor,’ he said. ‘She did some repair work. She did some fence-mending to get ready for the moment.’