MORE NEWS: BIDEN’S NOTES REVEAL TALKING POINTS ABOUT HARRIS, RUNNING MATE PROCESS
WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden was uncharacteristically tight-lipped on Tuesday about the final stretch of his search for a vice president. But the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee seemed prepared to talk about at least one leading contender: California Sen. Kamala Harris.
As he took questions from reporters on Tuesday, Biden held notes that were captured by an Associated Press photographer. Harris’ name was scrawled across the top, followed by five talking points.
“Do not hold grudges.” “Campaigned with me & Jill.” “Talented.” “Great help to campaign.” “Great respect for her.”
Those are all observations Biden has made about Harris before. But they take on new significance following a recent Politico report that one of Biden’s closest friends and a co-chair of his vice presidential vetting committee, former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, still harbors concerns about Harris’ tough debate stage performance and that she hasn’t expressed regret.
The comments attributed to Dodd have drawn condemnation, especially from influential Democratic women who maintain that Harris is being held to a standard that wouldn’t apply to a man running for president.
The debate-stage skirmish was one of the seminal moments of the Democratic primary. Harris, who is Black, said Biden made “very hurtful” comments about his past work with segregationist senators before she slammed his opposition to busing as schools began to integrate.
“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
At the time, Biden called her comments “a mischaracterization of my position.”
Their relationship has become considerably more amicable.
Biden has praised Harris publicly many times and said that he’s thought highly of her personally and professionally since she became close to his late son, Beau Biden, when both were state attorneys general.
Biden’s list, at the least, suggests that he wants to defuse any tensions around his relationship with Harris. Biden ultimately did not field a question specifically about Harris. A spokesperson for Harris did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In just his third extended news conference in four months, Biden also sidestepped specific questions about the timing of his decision on a running mate, an approach reflected in another entry on Biden’s notepad. Under the heading “VP,” Biden wrote “highly qualified” and “diverse group,” signifying his intention not to tease out any more details.
The notes of former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday reference Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., among other subjects.