Comments attributed to Dodd have been condemned, especially by influential Democratic women who argue that Harris is subject to a standard that would not apply to a man running for president.
The skirmish at the debate stage was one of the seminal moments in the Democratic primary. Harris, who is black, said Biden made “very hurtful” comments about her previous work with segregationist senators before she criticized her opposition to transportation when schools began to integrate.
“There was a girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and every day they took her by bus to school,” she said. “And that girl was me.”
At the time, Biden called his comments “a mischaracterization of my position.”
Their relationship has become considerably friendlier.
Biden has publicly praised Harris many times and noted that he has valued her highly personally and professionally since she became close to her late son, Beau Biden, when they were both state attorneys general.
It’s common for high-profile politicians to take notes with them on the podium, whether it’s handwritten additions to formal comments or a bulleted list like what Biden had on the stationery with his full name: Joseph R. Biden Jr.
In March, early in the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s notes were photographed to show “Chinese” written on “corona,” part of the president’s efforts to blame a foreign adversary for the pandemic. Last year, when Trump faced impeachment for pressuring Ukrainian officials to aid his re-election by finding filth in Biden, the president had notes saying “I don’t want anything” and “I don’t want any quid pro quo” .
Biden’s list, at least, suggests he wants to ease tensions around his relationship with Harris. As reflected in his notes, Harris has become a trusted substitute for Biden, appearing with him at online fundraising events amid unusual social distancing standards enforced in the campaign for the COVID-19 pandemic. As recently as last week, Harris spearheaded his own event for Biden, one focused on the Raleigh area of North Carolina, a battlefield state where Harris’ double appeal to black voters and college-educated white women. It could boost the prospects for Democrats.
Biden ultimately did not answer a question specifically about Harris. A Harris spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In just his third extended press 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 in Biden’s notebook. Under the heading “VP,” Biden wrote “highly rated” and “diverse group,” meaning his intention not to disclose further details.
Beyond vice presidential politics, Biden’s issues included the Justice Department, an allusion to Attorney General William Barr who testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill. His notes did not name Barr, but Biden made reference to “the people’s lawyer … not the president’s lawyer,” echoing his earlier claims that Barr has used his position as the latter.
In the “Last 100 Days” of the campaign, Biden wrote that he would be “offering a clearer contrast,” “tell the truth,” “take responsibility,” and “listen to the scientists,” all blow to Trump.
The list also included the original three-part slogan of Biden’s campaign: “Restore the Soul” of the Nation, “Rebuild MC” (the Middle Class) and “Unite Country”.