Joe Biden and Kamala Harris walking
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris walking

Yes­ter­day after­noon, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Cal­i­for­nia Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris appeared togeth­er for the first time as run­ning mates.

The event, which was live-streamed from the gym­na­si­um of the Alex­is I. Dupont High School in Wilm­ing­ton Delaware, saw Biden and Har­ris make con­sec­u­tive speech­es to a small audi­ence of jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers from behind a podi­um bear­ing a brand new “Biden Har­ris” cam­paign plac­ard. Each praised the oth­er effu­sive­ly in their speech­es, which were per­son­al and family-oriented.

Biden drew a direct con­trast between his run­ning mate and Don­ald Trump, call­ing Har­ris “smart” and “tough,” while say­ing Trump “whines bet­ter than any pres­i­dent in his­to­ry” – an effec­tive tac­tic to under­cut the wave of misog­y­ny and racism that was already surg­ing towards Har­ris from the Repub­li­cans’ ranks.

Biden told the assem­bled reporters and mil­lions watch­ing on TV and livestream that he had select­ed Har­ris based on her expe­ri­ence in both exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive roles, her proven readi­ness to assume greater respon­si­bil­i­ties, and the fact that she was able to with­stand the rig­ors of a pres­i­den­tial run of her own.

“It’s been grat­i­fy­ing to see the strong, enthu­si­as­tic reac­tion to Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris as our next Vice Pres­i­dent. In fact, yes­ter­day, we had our best fundrais­ing day of the entire cam­paign, and we set the all-time record for online polit­i­cal cam­paign rais­ing. It’s come from peo­ple from all parts of the coun­try, all ide­o­log­i­cal views, all backgrounds.”

Pre­sump­tive pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden

Above all else, though, Biden tout­ed Har­ris’ per­son­al con­nec­tion to his own fam­i­ly, through his late son Beau. Beau Biden and Kamala Har­ris were the attor­neys gen­er­al of Delaware and Cal­i­for­nia respec­tive­ly dur­ing the pits of the Great Reces­sion fol­low­ing the end of the Bush pres­i­den­cy, and devel­oped a close work­ing friend­ship over those years as they both sought to recoup con­sumer loss­es from the large finan­cial insti­tu­tions that had caused the eco­nom­ic crash.

Biden rem­i­nisced about the time he was cho­sen in 2008 to be Barack Obama’s run­ning mate, and said he asked some of the same ques­tions of Har­ris that Oba­ma asked of him. For exam­ple, he explained that he has asked Har­ris to be “the last per­son in the room” to speak before he made major deci­sions, to ask him tough ques­tions, and chal­lenge his assumptions.

Har­ris, for her part, proved her abil­i­ties from the moment she stepped up to the podi­um. She shred­ded Trump’s record in office, while remind­ing her audi­ence of her record as a pros­e­cu­tor: “The case against Don­ald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut.” She rein­forced Biden’s lines of attack against Trump, say­ing that this elec­tion is about “char­ac­ter” and con­trast­ing Trump’s indif­fer­ence to the death toll of COVID-19 to Biden’s own com­pas­sion in his per­son­al and polit­i­cal life.

“This virus has impact­ed almost every coun­try. But there’s a rea­son it has hit Amer­i­ca worse than any oth­er advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s fail­ure to take it seri­ous­ly from the start. His refusal to get test­ing up and run­ning. His flip-flop­ping on social dis­tanc­ing and wear­ing masks. His delu­sion­al belief that he knows bet­ter than the experts. All of that is the rea­son why an Amer­i­can dies of COVID-19 every eighty seconds.”

– Pre­sump­tive vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Kamala Harris

Remind­ing the audi­ence that Biden had raised his two sons alone after the death of his wife, Har­ris observed: “He’s some­one whose first response, when things get tough, is nev­er to think about him­self, but to take care of every­body else.”

Har­ris proved her­self excep­tion­al­ly on her first out­ing as Biden’s vice pres­i­den­tial pick, and sent a def­i­nite warn­ing shot across the bows of the Trump cam­paign. Trump’s team already seem to be con­fused and rat­tled by the inclu­sion of a strong, black woman on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic ticket.

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