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Harris takes center stage for White House with Biden on vacation

With President Biden in Delaware for a week-long vacation, Vice President Harris is taking center stage for the White House.

Harris began her jam-packed week by sitting down with ABC News for a one-on-one interview. She will later meet with a foreign leader, travel to Florida and Wisconsin, and deliver remarks Friday on the monthly jobs report, something Biden typically does.

The vice president’s full schedule at a time when Biden is off the radar reflects her growing profile heading into campaign season and is coinciding with an effort to establish herself as a future leader of the Democratic party.

One former Harris aide said the increased visibility is a clear positive for the vice president, giving her a platform with the Democratic base, with donors and with leaders in key swing states as she seeks to solidify her role for 2024 and beyond.

“If I were her, I’d want to have a visible role heading into the election sending my ire at Republicans who are saying and doing insane things,” the former aide said.

Harris sat down with ABC News for a nationally televised interview that aired Monday in which she weighed in on the plight of migrants being bussed to Washington, D.C., access to reproductive health care and a debate over the U.S.’ history of slavery – taking aim once again at Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

On Tuesday, Harris will head to Orlando, Fla., where she will speak in DeSantis’ backyard at the 

African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Women’s Missionary Convention.

On Wednesday, Harris will meet with the prime minister of Mongolia. While she frequently meets one-on-one with foreign leaders separate from the president, the meeting is notable given Biden will be out of town and unable to meet with the foreign leader.

Harris on Thursday will travel to Wisconsin, a key swing state, to speak about the Biden administration’s investments in making internet more accessible and affordable and to attend a pair of fundraisers.

And on Friday, Harris’ office said she will “deliver remarks on Jobs Day” following the release of the July jobs report. The remarks are notable for Harris given Biden typically gives a similar address each month outlining progress on the economy and promoting the White House’s agenda.

Biden aides have frequently voiced their support for Harris as a partner for the president, and the president’s reelection website features an image of both leaders and a “Biden-Harris” logo.

The sentiments appear to reflect a smoothing out of tensions between the Biden and Harris teams laid out in a book published last year that former communications director Kate Bedingfeld blamed on Harris directly.

One Democratic strategist said Harris has proven she is effective with key voting demographics, including Black voters and younger voters who will be crucial for Biden to turn out in 2024 in order to win a second term.

Harris has in recent weeks leaned into the more traditional vice presidential role of serving as an attack dog against the opposing party. She has spoken in Iowa, Chicago and Massachusetts at conferences and events and taken aim at “extremist” Republicans over issues like abortion bans.

She made a hastily arranged trip to Florida last week to blast the state’s new education guidelines that included language about how some slaves “developed skills,” which could be to their benefit. The remarks were a clear dig at DeSantis, who is the second-favorite GOP nominee for president, meaning Biden and Harris could be running against him in November 2024.

“It almost seems ridiculous to have to say what I just said, that enslaved people do not benefit from slavery. There are so called leaders, extremists, who are attempting to require in our nation an unnecessary debate with the intention, I believe, to try and divide us as Americans. Stop. Stop,” she said during the ABC interview. A Democratic National Committee spokesperson shared on Twitter similar remarks from Harris over the weekend.

But while the White House and Biden campaign have been willing to elevate Harris as a key messenger, Republicans running for the party’s 2024 nomination have shown they are willing to do the same.

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who has focused her candidacy on the need for generational change, has repeatedly suggested that the GOP is running against Harris in 2024, and not the 80-year-old Biden.

Former Vice President Pence has illustrated his argument that he had no right to overturn the 2020 election results by making the case to Republicans that Harris would have no right to overturn the 2024 results if the GOP prevails.

At one point, DeSantis aides sparring on social media with Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) for saying he was uncomfortable with the language on slaves developing skills tweeted out an image of Harris, suggesting the conservative congressman was echoing the vice president’s talking points.

The Florida governor himself has on multiple occasions mispronounced the vice president’s name as he accused her of spreading misinformation about his state’s policies.

“Ultimately if you look at the next election, she’s going to be the VP, you know, it’s possible she could end up being president of the United States,” DeSantis said at a recent Iowa campaign stop, according to NBC News. “And I think voters need to take a hard look at that and see if that’s something that they would want.”

Source: The Hill

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