When Vice President Kamala HarrisKamala Harris Harris tests negative for COVID-19 after close contact with Asylum Assistant is not the solution to the situation of Haitian Staff who had contact with Harris tests positive for COVID-19 MORE appeared on Comedy Central’s “Tha God’s Honest Truth” earlier this month, some Democrats were happy to glimpse the former senator calling witnesses during Senate committee hearings.
Towards the end of the 20-minute interview, when host Charlamagne asked tha God a controversial question about who the country’s “real president” is – President BidenJoe Biden Harris tests negative for COVID-19 after close contact with assistant Standing with Joe Manchin Holiday caller to Biden: ‘Merry Christmas and let’s go Brandon’ MORE or Sen. Joe ManchinJoe Manchin Standing with Joe Manchin Biden Finds Unequal Foundation with Black Voters Manchin told White House last week he would support version of billionaire tax: Report MORE (DW.Va.) – An assistant to Harris told him she couldn’t hear the question.
Moments later, Harris fired back at the radio personality.
“Come on, Charlamagne,” the vice president replied. “It’s Joe Biden. And don’t start talking like a Republican about whether he’s president or not. It’s Joe Biden and I’m Vice President and my name is Kamala Harris.”
The answer was what Democrats longed for from the vice president in her first year in office—a snapshot of tenacity rarely seen from the White House.
That is not without reason. Less than a full year in office, Harris endured several missteps while being careful not to come out for Biden.
Harris has offered a more guarded and scripted version of himself to the public.
“That’s the Kamala Harris that I know the base is looking forward to,” said a Democratic strategist close to the White House of the Charlamagne episode. “If she is indeed the future of the party and a potential president, they shouldn’t strip her of her personality.”
Harris’s problems seem to be on the back burner for now, at least in the news cycle.
As the new year approaches with another COVID-19 variant to contend with and a domestic spending bill in question, Democrats see an opportunity to hit the reset button, especially with some changing faces in the office. of the vice president.
“The vice president has a chance to refresh and focus more on content to illustrate what kind of board partner she has been and can be to the president,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne said.
“That should allow outside validators to vouch for her and help refocus the public on what kind of president she would be if that opportunity presented itself in the future,” Payne added.
White House officials have praised Harris’s work on the infrastructure package in recent days, with aides viewing her as crucial to ensuring the bill passes. They told CBS News that the vice president played a key role in fueling environmental issues that had been important to her since her days in the Senate, including funding for electric school buses and efforts to contain wildfires and droughts.
“Because she’s been working on these topics in the Senate, she knows on a tactical level where members of our caucus and members of the caucus are across the aisle,” Ali ZaidiAli Zaidi Watch Live: White House Press Briefing The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Mastercard – BBB Negotiations Hit Tension Biden Searches For Metals For Electric Vehicles Abroad: Report MORE, the White House’s deputy national climate adviser told the network.
White House Chief of Staff Ron KlainRon Klain Democrats face tough choices in Biden plan after Manchin ‘lost’ the misadventure of White House rudeness Joe Manchin The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by National Industries for the Blind – Manchin Says No; White House fires back MORE, an internal advocate for Harris, has also praised her, often publicly on Twitter.
“I know a thing or two about vice presidents,” Klain, who served as the former vice president’s chief of staff Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold Gore It’s time to trade the moonshot mentality for a new National Cancer Plan What Kamala Harris could learn from Henry Wallace GOP becoming a cult of know-nothing MORE and to Biden when he took the job — wrote earlier this month. “And @VP @KamalaHarris has made a great start as Vice President.”
The effort is important because many see Harris himself as a potential president. Biden again said in December that he plans to run in 2024 if his health is good. And Harris has repeatedly said she doesn’t think about running.
But given the age of the president, a Harris candidacy not only in 2028 but in 2024 is always seen as a possibility. And that adds to the importance of improving perceptions about the vice president.
“Voters want the vice president to be competent and supportive of the president,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a communications professor emeritus at Boston University who worked as a political media consultant. “Until now, the vice president and her staff have not been able to demonstrate that she is ready to become commander in chief.”
A reset may not be easy.
According to the latest FiveThirtyEight poll average, a large number of voters are unhappy with Harris’ performance as vice president. At the end of December, 47 percent of registered voters said they disapproved of her job in office, compared with just 39 percent who approved.
A Democratic source compared Harris negatively to her predecessors, saying she has had no specific issue and has not left her mark on the office. Former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard Pence5 Trump quotes indicating he will participate in 2024 Jim Jordan says he has ‘real concerns’ with Jan. 6 panel after sit-down request Jan. 6 panel seeks sit-down with Jim Jordan MORE was seen as the conservative voice in the White House, the source argued, while Biden was heralded as a former… President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaUS Deserves a Biden from 21st Century Supreme Court, First Lady Makes Christmas Eve Visit to Children’s National Hospital Climate, Politicians Demand Biden Strictly Against Car Pollution MOREliaison with Capitol Hill when he was vice president.
‘What’s her offer? What is she doing?” said the source, who has had multiple conversations with Harris employees. “What is the thing Kamala Harris can offer that no one else can? I still think they struggle with that.”
Another person familiar with Harris’s operation said she could use two sets of senior officials around her: one that focuses solely on the vice president — who handles her briefings, staffing, and internal and external feedback — and another dealing with strategy such as public relations and issues of politics.
“All those last things are neglected because all the seniors are drawn to manage her,” said the source.
Payne said the interview with Charlamagne tha God was a Rorschach test.
“Some people saw the best of the vice president and some people saw the challenges in her public branding,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s up to the VP and her team to turn them into net positives.”
But the Democratic strategist added that that’s the tone the public should see from Harris in the future.
“It would stop the chatter about whether she’s ready for prime time or not,” he said.