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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make debut as running mates, vowing to defeat Trump

Biden and Harris give first speech as running mates
Biden and Harris give first speech as running mates 02:00

Introducing Kamala Harris as his running mate for the first time, Joe Biden said Wednesday that he had "picked the right person" to become his vice president, marking the historic nature of her nomination while offering a preview of their argument against President Trump ahead of the closing stretch of the campaign.

The two appeared together at an event at a high school in Wilmington, Delaware, one day after Biden announced he had chosen Harris to be his running mate.

"I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me as vice president of the United States, and that's Senator Kamala Harris," Biden said, praising Harris as "tough" and a "proven fighter." He also touted her experience as attorney general of California and as a senator.

"Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She's ready to do this job on day one," Biden continued.

Democratic presidential candidate Biden and vice presidential candidate Harris hold first joint campaign appearance as a ticket in Wilmington, Delaware
Democratic vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris speaks at her first joint appearance with presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden after being named his running mate in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS

In her remarks, Harris indicated she was ready to begin campaigning in earnest.

"I am incredibly honored by this responsibility and I am ready to get to work," Harris said. "America is crying out for leadership."

Harris, 55, is the first Black vice presidential nominee, and is only the third woman to be a vice presidential candidate. She is also the first South Asian American vice presidential nominee.

"This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and Brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities. But today, just maybe, they're seeing themselves for first time in a new way — as the stuff of presidents and vice presidents," Biden said about Harris. He also needled Mr. Trump, who has called Harris "Phony Kamala," saying that the president is made uncomfortable by strong women.

"Is there any surprise that Donald Trump has a problem with a strong woman? Or strong women across the board?" Biden said.

Biden and Harris both criticized the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut," Harris said. "This virus has impacted almost every country. But there's a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It's because of Trump's failure to take it seriously from the start."

Harris also lauded Biden for serving as vice president to a Black president, and choosing a Black woman as his running mate.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make debut as running mates 36:01

Biden called Harris an "honorary Biden," and said that his decision to choose her as his running mate was influenced by her relationship with his late son, Beau. Harris also talked about her friendship with Beau Biden, who was attorney general of Delaware at the same time as Harris was attorney general of California.

"Joe and I, we are cut from the same cloth. Family is everything to me too," Harris said. "Vice president will be great. But 'Mom-ala' will always mean the most," she continued, referring to the nickname her stepchildren use.

Harris endorsed Biden in March, after ending her own presidential bid in December. She has been a prodigious fundraiser for Biden, holding several virtual events and fundraisers that each netted at least $1 million for the campaign.

Biden's choice of Harris as a running mate has been widely praised by Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, who said his former vice president "nailed this decision." Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, whose endorsement of Biden before the South Carolina primary was crucial to his win, also said he was "very pleased" that Harris was selected.

Harris, a former prosecutor, has established a voting record as one of the most liberal members of the U.S. Senate, according to GovTrack, an independent nonpartisan website that tracks legislative records. She is currently the only Black woman serving in the Senate.

Biden and Harris will also attend a virtual fundraiser together on Wednesday evening.

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