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Biden introduces Harris at a campaign event devoid of the standard pomp

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his newly chosen running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, made their campaign debut together Wednesday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware. On a stage that allowed for social distancing, they offered a unified vision for how they plan to defeat President Trump in November’s election. Lisa Desjardins reports on the groundbreaking ticket's campaign message.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and his newly chosen running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, made their campaign debut together this afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware.

    They offered a unified vision for how they plan to defeat President Trump in November's election.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    For the first time, the 2020 Democratic ticket appeared together, if on a socially distant stage. One day after tweeting out that she was his V.P. pick, former Vice President Joe Biden gave an in-person welcome to current California Senator Kamala Harris.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    Kamala, as you all know, is smart, she's tough, she's experienced, she's a proven fighter for the backbone of this country, the middle class, and for all those who are struggling to get into the middle class.

    Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She's ready to do this job on day one, and we're both ready to get to work rebuilding this nation.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:

    We don't have to accept the failed government of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

    In just 83 days, we have a chance to choose a better future for our country.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The team appeared at a high school in Wilmington, with just a few dozen reporters in the crowd, no supporters to cheer or applaud, a somewhat surreal, pandemic version of what is usually a full-throated rally to show off a new vice presidential pick.

    The Biden campaign hoped to show digital emotion, releasing video of the moment the presidential nominee offered the job to Harris.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    First of all, is the answer is yes?

  • Sen. Kamala Harris:

    The answer is absolutely yes, Joe.


  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Harris' candidacy is a moment of many firsts. She's the first Black woman and first Asian American vice presidential nominee on a major party ticket.

    For supporters in her native Oakland California, like business owner Mika McCannts, Harris' identity is an important symbol.

  • Mika McCannts:

    As an African-American, especially as an African-American woman, we're used to being a target. It's not going to be anything new for Kamala. I'm pretty confident that she can handle it.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Supporters like resident John Davis say it's her experience that has best prepared Harris for the job.

  • John Davis:

    I know Joe Biden mentioned, you know, he was going to pick a woman as his vice president. But I think she's really the best candidate either way, not just because she's a woman.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Scott Shafer of KQED covered Harris' time as district attorney and later as California attorney general.

  • Scott Shafer:

    She was very slow to embrace legalizing marijuana in California, well behind a lot of other Democrats, including the governor.

    She did not take a position on a statewide ballot measure that would have reduced some nonviolent drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. She very vigorously pursued death penalty cases that had been overturned by the courts.

    And so, while she has embraced things like getting rid of cash bail, there are a lot of things that give criminal justice reform advocates concern.

  • Narrator:

    Kamala Harris ran for president by rushing to the radical left.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    President Trump's campaign team quickly released a video claiming Harris was too far left. And, on Twitter, Mr. Trump said Harris did not pose a threat to his reelection, saying she "started strong in the Democratic primaries and finished weak, fleeing the race with almost zero support."

    But, last night, the president's number two had friendlier words for his Democratic contender.

  • Vice President Mike Pence:

    California Senator Kamala Harris will be the Democrat candidate for vice president.


  • Man:

    Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

  • Vice President Mike Pence:

    So, let me take this opportunity to welcome her to the race.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    On Instagram, another welcome, from Sarah Palin, the first Republican woman on a presidential ticket.

    She wrote to the new V.P. Nominee that the experience will be "the most amazing view in your life," along with some counsel, writing: "Don't get muzzled and have fun."

    Some advice on day one for the Biden-Harris team. Like American voters, they face an intense 83 days until the election.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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