If true, the tactic makes sense; Harris has often been criticized for being invisible within the administration – so much so that Democrats are worried she may be a liability on the 2024 ticket. Boosting Harris’s visibility could serve to ameliorate the perception of invisibility/irrelevance.
According to the report, Harris was “symbolically positioned at the center” of President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as the two negotiated the debt ceiling last week. “The public staging of those moments, Democratic operatives say, is part of a concerted effort to bolster Harris’ image in the weeks since Biden announced his reelection,” The Washington Post reported.
Leaning into abortion and infrastructure
Anita Dunn, confidant of Presidents Obama and Biden, has been tasked with Harris’ scheduling.
“Dunn recently directed the White House public engagement and political teams to help schedule events with Harris, having her promote popular causes such as abortion rights and infrastructure spending,” The Washington Post reported.
The report should help put to rest any speculation that Biden was planning to ditch Harris for the 2024 campaign. And if the report isn’t enough, there’s Biden’s campaign announcement video, which includes several shots of Harris and concluded with a Biden-Harris placard (although was never otherwise explicit about Harris joining the ticket).
On Saturday, Harris took center stage, by herself, to give the commencement at the US Military Academy – marking the first time a woman has given commencement in the academy’s 221-year history.
Meanwhile, the president has “made an evident effort to defend Harris and highlight her role.” Biden said on a TV interview recently that Harris is “really very, very good.”
Harris might have to step in
“The moves reflect the fact that Biden’s fate is entwined with Harris’s in a newly direct way,” The Washington Post reported, “because his reelection may depend on persuading Americans that she is qualified to step in.” No doubt about that. Biden is already the oldest president to ever serve. If he won reelection, his second term wouldn’t even begin until Biden had surpassed his 82nd birthday. To make it through an entire second term, Biden would have to live to the age of 86, which is certainly possible – although the US male life expectancy is just 76. Point being Biden’s vice presidential pick is unusually important because the VP has an unusually high likelihood of having to step into the presidency itself. So naturally Biden will need to pick someone who the American people can accept as the heir apparent to the Oval Office.
Republicans are already attacking Biden for his age – and for his choice of successor in the event that he is unable to finish his second term.
GOP candidate Nikki Haley said: “I think that we can all be very clear and say with a matter of fact that if you vote for Joe Biden you really are counting on a President Harris, because the idea that he would make it until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely.” The setup was problematic in Haley’s view, because in Haley’s view Harris is one of the “most incompetent elected officials in the country” and often speaks in a way that devolves into “word salad.”
The Biden administration has a long way to go if they want to rehabilitate Harris’s image.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.