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Vice President Kamala Harris weighs in on key issues and the 2024 election

Kamala Harris: The 2023 60 Minutes Interview
Vice President Kamala Harris: The 2023 60 Minutes Interview 13:08

Many voters think President Biden is too old to run in 2024, but Vice President Kamala Harris refuses to engage in speculation about what would happen if President Biden were unable to stay in the race. 

Mr. Biden is now 80 and the GOP is using the president's age as a battering ram. Some Democrats speculate that, in the absence of the incumbent, other candidates would jump in the race and not defer to the vice president. 

"I hear from a lot of different people a lot of different things. But let me just tell you, I'm focused on the job. I truly am. Our democracy is on the line," Harris said. "And I frankly, in my head, do not have time for parlor games."

The role of age in the 2024 campaign

President Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said in February that the president remained "fit for duty" after a routine physical. 

Around 53% of Americans believe the presidency is too demanding for someone over the age of 75, a CBS News poll published in September found. Around 80% of Americans believe elected officials older than 75 risk being out of touch with the times, and 78% have concerns about their ability to perform their job.

Former President Donald Trump, the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is 77. Political opponents, and even some allies, have portrayed Trump and Mr. Biden as too old for the White House. Until Mr. Biden assumed office, President Ronald Reagan had been the oldest sitting president. He was 77 at the end of his second term. 

Democrats' key priorities ahead of the 2024 election

Vice President Harris has visited 19 foreign countries and met with more than 100 world leaders, but lately she's been the Biden administration's point person on domestic priorities.

Her policy portfolio includes reproductive rights, the root causes of migration, voting rights and gun violence, one of the most intractable issues facing the country. Just last week, 18 people were killed and 13 injured in a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine.

"We've done some of the most significant gun safety laws in 30 years, but we still need an assault weapons ban," Harris said. "It doesn't have to be this way. There was an assault weapons ban at one time. It expired. Let's renew it.

Many Americans are frustrated by the situation at the border, with the number of people trying to cross into the U.S. at the southern border over the past year at an all-time high.

Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris 60 Minutes

"It's no secret that we have a broken immigration system," Harris said. "Short term, we need a safe, orderly and humane border policy. And long term, we need to invest in the root causes of migration. But the bottom line? Congress needs to act. 'Come on. Participate in the solution instead of political gamesmanship.'"

The Biden administration is also grappling with the economy, as Americans face staggeringly high prices for basics, including food and housing

"We came into office during the height of a pandemic, record unemployment," Harris said. "And because of our economic policies, we now are reducing inflation. We have created over 14 million new jobs. We've created over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs. Wages are up. And so, we've seen great progress."

Why aren't Biden and Harris doing better in the polls?

At the beginning of President Biden's term, 70% of people under 30 said he was doing a good job, a CBS News poll found. Now CBS News polling shows less than 50% of young people feel Mr. Biden is doing a good job. 

The vice president herself is not very popular. Just 41% of adults told CBS News they approve of the job she's doing, which is about the same as President Biden's approval rating. She said issues are more important to her than the polls.

The Biden-Harris ticket is running neck and neck with Donald Trump, even as the former president faces dozens of criminal charges. Some wonder why the Biden-Harris ticket isn't polling better. 

"I'm not a political pundit, so I'm not going to speak to that, but what I will say is this: when the American people are able to take a close look at election time on their options, I think the choice is going to be clear," she said. "We're going to win. Let me just tell you that. We're going to win. And I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but we will win."

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