Kamala Harris lauds 'bold, vibrant' Biden and attacks Republican 'theatrics'

  • In Politics
  • 2023-02-08 14:54:10Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images  

Kamala Harris talked up a "bold and vibrant" Joe Biden when asked on Wednesday morning about his age in relation to his fitness to be president - as expectation builds that the 80-year-old will run for the White House again in 2024.

The US vice president attacked Republican "theatrics" during Biden's strong performance at his state of the union speech on Tuesday night. Biden has yet to declare if he will run for a second term - or whether Harris will be his companion on the ticket again if he does - but his speech appeared to strengthen the chances of that, as did her upbeat interview.

Harris touted the administration's bipartisan successes, in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America early Wednesday, shortly after Biden tweeted, "What a night, VP" with a picture of him shaking the hand of a beaming Harris after the speech.

The president, who will be two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday at the time of the next election, has said he will announce his decision early this year.

"Age is more than a chronological fact, to be very frank with you," Harris told interviewer George Stephanopoulos.

"It's about thinking about whether we have in our leader, which we do in Joe Biden, somebody who is bold. What he has achieved in this presidency only two years in is historic in terms of the investment in infrastructure … I think you will see that we have a very bold and vibrant president in Joe Biden," she said.

She acknowledged, however, when asked about Biden's languishing approval ratings, that "people are still hurting in America" as a result of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and economic challenges, including high inflation.

"A lot of good work has happened but more work needs to be done. There's no doubt about that," she said.

Harris took a swipe at the unruly conduct of some Republicans in the chamber, including the extremist but increasingly-influential Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene shouting "liar" at Biden as he spoke.

"I think that there's a bit of what happens in that room, sadly, that it's about theatrics. But when you talk about the substantive work, I think we've seen some success in terms of bipartisan work.

"Look at what we did together. It was bipartisan in terms of dealing with gun safety laws, the first time in decades, where we had any meaningful federal legislation in that regard. So the president, it's his nature, and it's his commitment to the American people to work across the aisle. That's not going to stop even if some people are cynical about it."

Harris expanded on the heckling in a subsequent interview on CBS Mornings: "Sadly, there tends to be a theatrical element to the evening as time has gone on," she said.

"But I think the president was in command, and he was focused on the American people, as opposed to the gamesmanship that was being played in the room."

Stronger condemnation came on Wednesday from congressmen of both parties. South Carolina Democrat James Clyburn told CNN's This Morning that Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy's efforts to quell his caucus fell on deaf ears.

"I understand that he did say something to them about it. And they didn't listen. When you're dealing with kindergartners it's kind of hard to get them to listen," he said.

Montana Republican Ryan Zinke was also unhappy at the raucousness.

"I was born and raised to be a gentleman, and he is my president," he told the same program.


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