Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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Biden–Harris Rollout Marred by Empty House, Power Outage, Delays

'We won’t get the visual, but you can already feel the energy and excitement...'

(Headline USA) Joe Biden and Kamala Harris delivered an aggressive one-two attack on the character and performance of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as they made their election case for the first time as running mates.

Biden, a 77-year-old white man, embraced the significance of naming the first black woman to a major party’s presidential ticket, even though it has now become commonplace to see candidates of color and women on the ticket.

But he also focused on other attributes Harris brings to the ticket, many of which were carefully considered in order to compensate for his own leadership shortcomings.

He hailed the California senator, the 55-year-old former prosecutor who a year ago excoriated Biden on a primary debate stage, as the right woman to help him defeat Trump.

Harris is  “smart, she’s tough, she’s experienced, she’s a proven fighter for the backbone of this country,” Biden said at a high school gymnasium in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

“Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She’s ready to do this job on day one,” he said.

Many have construed his emphasis on the latter point as a signal that he likely does not expect to finish the term if elected, given his advanced age and state of cognitive decline.

Historic or not, the event was not without its challenges. It started an hour late, and the high school gymnasium in which the candidates spoke lost its air conditioning after a power outage hit the area.

While most of the cable news networks took the event live, the online livestream cut out just a few minutes into Biden’s remarks.

Possibly reflecting the changed circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, relatively few in attendance—not in a hall filled with cheering supporters as would normally be the case for many presidential candidates.

Masked reporters nearly outnumbered campaign aides and the candidates’ families members.

About 100 supporters stood outside the gymnasium waving signs prior to her arrival, with no hopes of being allowed inside.

Both spoke without masks but did not physically embrace as Biden has been known to do with other females while sharing the stage.

Harris—the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica—has often made race a central issue, and it was no exception Wednesday as Biden hammered the issue of diversity, which has become a ubiquitous point of contention since race-riots in June to respond to the death of George Floyd.

Similar race-riots, which occurred during the autumn years of the Obama–Biden administration, may have helped propel Trump into the White House on a platform of law and order.

“This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up — especially little black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities. But today, today, just maybe, they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way,” Biden said.

Taking the stage after him, Harris tossed in the woman card—also likely to be a major point of emphasis.

The Biden campaign hopes to bait Trump into a harsh criticism of Harris that will alienate or offend women against supporting the president. However, similar tactics failed in the 2016 race against Hillary Clinton.

Harris said she was “mindful of all the ambitious women before me, whose sacrifice, determination and resilience makes my presence here today even possible.”

The notoriously indecisive Harris then criticized what she claimed was Trump’s lack of leadership when managing the coronavirus.

“This is a moment of real consequence for America. Everything we care about—our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in—it’s all on the line,” she said.

After often brutal attacks from Harris during the primary—including raising questions about Biden’s spotty record on racial issues and a statement that she believed the former vice president’s rape accuser, Tara Reade—there were scant indications of the former acrimony during the love-fest.

Biden called Harris an “honorary Biden” and Harris offering an emotional tribute to his son Beau, whom she was friends with when both served as attorneys general.

Biden seemed overcome with emotion as Harris spoke of Beau, who died in 2015, as “the best of us” and a man who modeled himself after his father.

She signaled that she’ll offer a vigorous defense of Biden’s qualifications on issues of race and civil rights, despite previously assailing him for his past opposition to federally mandated bussing during a primary debate last year.

Noting his own vice presidency under President Barack Obama, she said Biden “takes his place in the ongoing story of America’s march towards equality and justice” as the only person “who’s served alongside the first black president and has chosen the first black woman as his running mate.”

Later Wednesday, the pair were leading an online grassroots fundraiser. They will continue campaigning together through the Democrats’ virtual convention that runs next Monday through Thursday.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday insisted Harris is “very much part of the radical left” and suggested the senator will have a hard time not outshining Biden, whose age and fitness for office Conway frequently mocks. “He’s overshadowed basically by almost everyone he comes in contact with,” she said.

But Karen Finney, a prominent black strategist in the Democratic Party, pointed to immediate fundraising success as evidence that Biden’s take on Harris is better than Trump’s.

Act Blue, Democrats’ online fundraising arm, reported taking in almost $11 million in the hours after Biden’s announcement, and the Biden campaign expected a massive haul from Wednesday evening’s fundraiser, potentially rivaling previous events with Obama and former 2020 rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“We won’t get the visual,” Finney said, referring to the realities of a coronavirus-era campaign. “But you can already feel the energy and excitement.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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