“Oh my God, I’m so ready to go to work,” Kamala Harris’ voice replied.
The video capturing the apparent moment when the Democratic presidential candidate asked the California senator to be his running mate underscored how much the campaign had changed during the coronavirus pandemic.
But he also illustrated how, with less than three months to go before the US presidential election, Mr Biden and Ms Harris have a lot of work to do in their quest to defeat Donald Trump.
While Mr Biden currently enjoys a comfortable lead in all major national opinion polls – and tends to outperform the president in battlefield states such as Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania – Democrats acknowledge that the former vice president will face major tests by November.
These include three prime-time one-on-one televised debates with Mr. Trump and a marketing battle that will see the two candidates spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a rebate in an effort to reach voters amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But on Wednesday, the party appeared to agree that Ms Harris – the first black woman and the first South Asian woman to feature on a major party’s presidential ticket – was the right fit alongside Mr Biden.
“She has all the tools you need. She breaks barriers, sure, but she’s been endorsed in her presidential bid, she’s reasonably well known, she performs as a national politician, and she’s extraordinarily smart and capable, ”said Co-Founder Matt Bennett. of Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank.
He said Ms. Harris’ “dominant” political views have given her wide appeal across the Democratic Party, which in recent years has seen ideological clashes between left-wing progressives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and prominent figures from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. the centrist establishment like Nancy Pelosi.
“I don’t think it’s easy to classify as moderate or super liberal,” Bennett said. “I think the reason people ranging from me to Bernie Sanders have applauded this choice is that it does a very good job of staying in the mainstream of Democratic thought.
Ms Harris, who dropped her own presidential primary run last December, will join Mr Biden on Wednesday afternoon for a speech in the former vice president’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, before co- organize a virtual fundraiser.
Democrats say fundraising is one of the senator’s strengths, dating back to her early days in politics. Ms. Harris was District Attorney for San Francisco before being elected Attorney General of California, a position she held until she was sworn in to the U.S. Senate in 2017.
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When applying for the district attorney’s post in 2003, she attended more than 100 house parties and sent flowers to each of her hosts, according to Jim Stearns, a political consultant who worked on the campaign.
“I remember saying to Kamala, ‘I don’t think we can get a $ 5,000 bill for flowers?’ »He remembers.
Mr Trump himself, a former Democrat, donated $ 6,000 to his candidacy for attorney general in 2014, state records show. Her daughter, Ivanka Trump, also donated to Ms Harris.
The President on Tuesday described Ms Harris as “mean” and the Senator “meanest” and “most horrible.”
Ms Harris has raised just under $ 40 million for her presidential campaign, more than half of which came from “big” contributions over $ 200, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in US politics .
However, she suspended her campaign two months before the Iowa caucuses after failing to break into a crowded field, saying she lacked the money to pursue her candidacy.
At the time, many attributed his lack of success in the primary to his inability to articulate a clear political vision in relation to progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and more centrist candidates like Mr. Biden. In one case, she raised her hand at a stage of debate in favor of Mr. Sanders’ Medicare for All platform, which would effectively eliminate private health insurance in the United States, before rolling it back the next day.
But Mr. Bennett, who worked on both Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns, said Ms. Harris’s ideology was a “side issue” now that she was Mr. Biden’s vice president.
“She’s now part of the Biden team and she will be promoting Biden’s ideas,” he said. “Over the next three months, what the vice presidential candidate does is push the political agenda of the presidential candidate forward.”
Jon Henes, a partner at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm who served as chairman of national finance for Ms Harris’ presidential candidacy, said Mr Biden’s choice had been warmly received by big business, including the wary ones of a Democratic ticket too far to the left.
“The number of texts I have received in the past 12 hours is more texts than I think I have received in the past 12 years, people wondering how they can get involved, how they can give,” a Mr. Henes said. “You have the titans in the industry who know who she is and who believe in her and Joe Biden to get the country back on track.”
Mr. Bennett agreed. “What American businesses are looking for after three and a half years of utter chaos, unpredictability and chaos at the top are firm hands,” he said. “She seems very stable.
Additional reporting by Courtney Weaver in Washington