Despite Success, Harris Could Face Backlash for Her Biden Attack

Despite Success, Harris Could Face Backlash for Her Biden Attack


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Although Kamala Harris saw some initial success for her rather rough attack on former vice president Joe Biden for his civil rights record during last week’s Democratic presidential debate, the senator from California, ultimately, could pay a price, according to some political analysts.

Harris surged to third place in the crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders–and also raked in some $2.5 million in fundraising–after her surprisingly blistering rhetorical onslaught, in which she took Biden to task for his position on busing as a means to eliminate school segregation. Harris’ ambush left Biden visibly rattled.

“But there’s polling that’s coming out to support this view, in the black community it hurt her,” said Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and currently working as a political analyst. “This was not something that I think she’s going to walk away from with a lot of black support.”

In a separate interview, journalist A.B. Stoddard of RealClearPolitics, came to a similar conclusion, believing that ultimately Harris will come to regret her attack on Biden.

“Yes, she was very prepared to change the dynamics in this race and she was going to go — there was no question. There was no nothing. She interrupted and began launching a multi-paragraph attack with the sentence ‘You’re not a racist’ to the front-runner. He was not prepared for the ferocity of her challenge and her attack, and so he stumbled. He thought maybe this would come up, but he was ready, I guess, to be attacked ferociously by Bernie. And I think there’s a conversation going on about whether or not she is going to face a backlash to her complicated attack on Joe Biden, which was meant to show primary voters, ‘I can take on Donald Trump in a debate and I’m very tough,'” Stoddard said. “But she used that issue in a very personal way that is redounded to her benefit. She took in a gazillion contributions overnight, she’s going to get a bump in the polls, she has new endorsements.

“But the people who are with Biden, including black voters and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are wondering if that’s the kind of thing that down the road will be looked upon as a mistake,” Stoddard added.

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