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Former vice president and presumptive democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) as his running mate in a tweet Tuesday. Harris, the Senate’s only black woman, previously served as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general before starting her own presidential bid in early 2019; low campaign finance figures ended her campaign in December. If Biden becomes president, Harris will be the first female VP, first black VP, and first Asian American VP.
In June, Biden pledged to select a woman of color as his vice president, and over the past few weeks, Harris emerged as a clear frontrunner. A photograph of Biden's notes revealed Harris' name among the list of talking points, along with the phrase "do not hold grudges”; some reports suggested as early as last week that Biden had narrowed the field to two candidates; Harris and Obama administration national security advisor Susan Rice.
Coverage from the left tended to highlight the fact that if the Biden-Harris ticket succeeds, Harris would break multiple demographic barriers. Others concentrated on her credentials and resume. Some voices on Twitter noted that several different left- and center-rated news outlets referred to Harris in their headlines as a "woman of color," and a "black woman," while others referred to her South Asian heritage.
Some voices from the right highlighted Harris' past criticism of Biden, including her 2019 statement that she believed Biden's sexual assault accusers. Others framed her purportedly weak resume and questionable history as a prosecutor as a positive for President Donald Trump. Some coverage also examined her credentials; other voices highlighted past instances from Harris’ political and criminal justice careers that paint her in a negative light.
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Snippets from the Left
Daily Beast (analysis)
"Kamala Harris was the best available choice for a few reasons. Obviously, she’s history-making, the first Black woman to be a major-party veep nominee. She’s smart and tough and will probably be an effective attacker of the incumbent. She has charisma, she’s relatively young, and standing up there next to Biden, she lowers his age about five years."
The Boston Globe (analysis)
"The knock on Kamala Harris, presidential candidate, is that she was all California flash and no substance: She was impressive on paper and had an inspiring background, but she lacked an ideological compass. Critics point to many examples of political expediency that would make Mitt Romney blush, but the most high-profile one was on Medicare-for-All, the signature policy issue of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season."
Snippets from the Center
USA Today (analysis)
"Biden never looked more stunned during the primary campaign than when Harris questioned his record on race, demanding in one early debate, "Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America?" Biden's decision to tap her as running mate shows a willingness to move past a painful exchange that is sure to be replayed in opposition TV ads."
BBC News (analysis)
"Sincerity, or at least the appearance of it, is a virtue voters prize - and part of the reason why Donald Trump became president. While his supporters didn't always agree with him, they felt like he speaks his mind. Harris's move from moderate, then to the left and now back, perhaps, to the Biden middle could leave some voters wondering where her core values lie - or if she has any core values at all."
Snippets from the Right
Washington Examiner (opinion)
"Harris's own presidential bid against Biden will provide ample ammunition for Trump. Consider, while Harris was trying to smear Biden as a racist for failing to back federally mandated busing, a stance she didn't even believe, Biden dominated the majority of the black vote. So, not only will Harris not likely improve black voter turnout, but she also probably won't motivate more turnout among women, with which she flamed out in the primary."
National Review (opinion)
"In her first speech since Joe Biden selected her as his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris told multiple lies. To wit: “The president’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Harris said. False. The pandemic and its associated lockdowns, not the president, are responsible for the economic contraction."
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