Transcript for Joe Biden selects Kamala Harris as running mate
This is a ABC news special report. Good afternoon everyone. Terry Moran the here at the Washington bureau and we are cutting into programming because of a major political announcement. Joe Biden has made his pick. The presumptive nominee of the democratic party has chosen kamala Harris, California senator and a former rival for the party nomination to run with him against president trump and Mike pence, they have a long history together. And, kamala Harris also has demonstrated that she can fight against Joe Biden. She is 55 years old, she was elected to the senate in 2016, and now stands on the edge of a major,or move in her life and in the nation's life, she is a historic choice, the like American, the first American of Indian descent to be named to a major party ticket and I would like to go to Mary Bruce who is our senior political reporter and has been covering this for us. Mary, you have covered her in the senate. This is a major moment for the country and of course, for kamala Harris. What you take away M this? It is a historic pick. She is the first black woman to be on the ticket, the first Indian American. She is no stranger to making history and we are getting a sense from Joe Biden himself as to why he chose her, saying in a statement, I need someone working alongside me that is smart, tough, and ready to lead it he says that she is that person and he goes on to say that he need somebody who understands the pain that so many are experiencing and somebody who understands we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. He also notes that he is choosing her because of her record of accomplishment, that she has fought tooth and nail for what is right and he says that is why I am choosing her. As you mentioned, they were former rivals not that long ago kamala Harris took him to task for his record working with segregationist senators to oppose school busing policies in the 70s. It was an attack at the time that Joe Biden's wife described as a punch to the gut. Clearly, that is water under the bridge. It is obvious that Joe Biden feels she is the right choice and we know that he has said all along that he was looking for somebody to be his Joe Biden. Somebody he could have a relationship like he did with former president Obama. This was a decision that was going to come down to temperament and personal relationship, to a gut feeling on behalf of Joe Biden. He notes in making this announcement, that kamala Harris had a relationship with his son who he lost tragically to cancer. They worked together as state attorneys general and it is something that has always been a part of their relationship, their history, something that they have spoken of often. And, the historic nature of this pick is something that really cannot be understated. Joe Biden was the first presidential presumptive nominee to say that he was only going to choose from women, and now choosing a black woman, once again, sending such a powerful message about representation, but the role of black women in the democratic party and the future of black women in the democratic party as well. Thank you very much. Kamala Harris is only the second black woman to serve in the senate. George Stephanopoulos is with us. In some ways kamala Harris is the most traditional pick on the list of candidates that he was looking at. United States senator and has run for the presidency, as a national profile, but something new really on the national ticket. Reporter: I think this process for Joe Biden ended up where it began, coming out of the primaries he pointed out that he would pick a woman. It became fairly clear after all the racial unrest across the country that there would be more pressure that the woman be a black woman in the big question for Joe Biden all through this process as he went through the interviews and the vetting was could he get comfortable with kamala Harris? As Mary said, when she took off on him and that debate last summer, it was a gut punch to Joe Biden and his wife who were shocked that she went there given the relationship she had had with Bo Biden and then the question for Joe Biden through this process was going to be can I trust her? Will she be a partner in the oval office? Well I have to be watching my back or will I have somebody who will be watching my back ? As vice president and clearly, over the course of this process, he ended up hitting comfortable enough to say she is going to be my pick and you talk about historic choices, as the first black woman she is also in such a, she becomes the instant future of the democratic party, especially if Joe Biden wins in November. You saw it, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were the front- runners of the democratic nomination and this time around, both 77 and 78 years old.kamala Harris is from a different generation. She instantly becomes the leader of that generation of Democrats. And the presumptive vice presidential nominee, thanks for that. As she also is the first member of her family to be born in the United States. Both parents were immigrants and that is significant as well. I want to go to the farmer chief of staff to president Obama and the former mayor of Chicago and what does she bring to the ticket for Joe Biden? First of all, I would like to make to side points, one is, Joe Biden staff showed incredible discipline in this process, loyalty to the principal, not leaking it. That speaks volumes for the white house and compare that to president trump , whose staff is leaking on him like a sieve all the time. You needed discipline, loyal staff all the time and his staff shows that rid of it is a revealing part of this process and I think they have played this incredibly well politically in the sense of having suspense all the way dominating now the rest of the news through the evening and tomorrow morning and while she is obviously the first person of color on the ticket, one of the fastest voting groups with Democrats or people from Asia. Her dissent is Indian and that will play a major role in also solidifying a fast growing constituency in the American public. I think her background as a prosecutor, attorney general, when you look at so much of the consumer reforms, the clinical and environmental protections on tobacco, etc., that comes out of that office and when we think about the gravity in politics in Washington, or political experience, her real bones were cut in local politics, not national politics. She is actually new to national politics, she is rooted in a Progressive politics that is local and home run. And that will pay a huge dividend for the Biden administration so that they never lose contact with what is going on in the rest of the country and obviously, California being a big player in not only national politics, it is where trends start in California both culturally and politically. Thanks very much. She was a rising star in California, and the state attorney general, would like to go to Yvette Simpson who is the chief executive for a Progressive democratic organization. What is your take from your wing of the democratic party? Kamala Harris has taken flak for some choices as prosecutor and attorney general. What do you make of this? A couple things. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the historic nature of this. People do not always give Progressives credit, but we do support racial and social justice and the fact that he picked a indian-american woman to be his running mate is a big deal and Progressives will have to acknowledge that is a major win for the country particularly at a time like this when Progressives are fighting for a two. The second thing is, what we want to do is win. And the reality is if you cannot have Elizabeth Warren which we expected might not happen because we were not sure whether the politics would match with Joe Biden and the people around him would allow that, but also she is a white woman and at this time there was a huge demand that there be a woman of color, certainly a black woman considering what is going on in our country so I would say that if you had to choose someone who was not a Progressive but was a black woman, kamala Harris is probably going to be the first choice and she does have her roots in Progressive politics. She was an endorsed candidate by democracy for America. Certainly her criminal justice background has been a challenge but in recent weeks she has been one of the most outspoken people for justice for breonna Taylor and George Floyd. She has talked about what we need to do to reform our police department. If you had to pick someone who knows the police department and has a commitment to make sure we restructure and reform lease, she would be a good choice. All in all, I think the choice was probably because we need somebody that is going to complement Joe Biden. She is tough and strong and smart and ready on day one and everybody is ready for that debate with her and vice president pence because we know that will be quite a brawl because we know that kamala Harris can bring it. All in all, Progressives do not get the first choice or second choice, but I think it is an important point to make that now we are making history with the first black woman, the first indian-american woman to be on the ticket. An historic choice, she said she can bring it on the campaign trail. Joe Biden found out about that in the debate with kamala Harris where she tagged him for his support for busing in the 1970s. Would like to bring in our colleague at ABC news who has been covering kamala Harris for a year or so. So, from that perspective, from that on the ground perspective, traveling with her, what kind of a candidate is she? Joe Biden is a familiar figure. Kamala Harris did run for president, but what does she bring on the campaign trail, and what is she like? You have hung around with her quite a bit over the past year. Reporter: It was a historic campaign and this was a historic pick for the third time in history, a woman selected for the job for the first time, a woman of color, Joe Biden said he was not basing his decision on any one thing, he was looking at a variety of factors including if he thought the person could be president one day and if they were simpatico with his views of the world. Right now, we know that person is kamala Harris. Of course, Joe Biden turning a former rival into his running mate, you remember that first debate, she went after him for his stance on busing from decades ago and of course, now she has endorsed him several months ago and is now his running mate. Rumors have been building for weeks, just two weeks ago a image of Biden's notes with talking points and the first part, do not hold grudges. Member the first debate, when she went after him forcefully for his opposition to federally mandated busing, she eventually endorsed him several months after she dropped out. Virtually campaigning for him and raising millions for him the last few months. Speculation of Harris began ramping up as the country grappled over the debate over social change. The senator is of black and Indian descent. If elected she will be the first woman and Asian person to serve in one of the countries two top spots and the very first black person to serve as second in command. She is no stranger to historic milestones. She was the first woman to serve as California's attorney general, that is a role that introduced her to the Biden family. All right, thank you very much for that. This is a historic pick. I mentioned that her mother immigrated from India, is a scientist, her dad is an economist who immigrated from Jamaica so she is a second- generation American as so many of us have been. She attended Howard university, the great historically black institution of higher learning here in Washington DC and got her law degree at the university of California. And, I would like to now go to the kamala Harris pick, you have watched her in congress on the campaign trail. What does she bring that Joe Biden needs, do you think? The question of ready on day one, he is 77, he will be 78 when he is sworn and if he wins in November, that is by far the oldest president, newly elected president we have ever had, which will raise questions about what is often the most important question is can the vice president step in and serve as president as John McCain used to joke the job of the vice president is to inquire daily as to the health of the president. But, in this case with kamala Harris you have somebody who brings a really serious resume. She was the district attorney for six years in San Francisco. She was the attorney general for the state of California and now, senator from California. That means that she has serious experience, political experience, experience in law enforcement, she has shown that she can get elected twice in the most populous state in the union. And Joe Biden clearly went with somebody who he believes has the experience and the standing to go in there and do the ultimate job if she is called on and needs to step in to be president. We want to go back once more to Mary Bruce on what happens next. The ticket is there, what are they going to do? Reporter: Now, we know that we will hear from them for the first time we will see Joe Biden delivering remarks side by side with his pick for vp. It will be the first time that we will hear from senator Harris in a little while. Unlike so many of the others, potential finalists and contenders here, Harris has been very tightlipped, unlike others who were actively campaigning for this role, she really laid very low throughout this entire process. We are now getting some initial reaction from those close to her saying that they are so proud, very emotional, and adding now on to the hard part. Onto the race. And, Rachel Scott is with us as well, covering the politics. We have been on the campaign trail. As you look forward to what this democratic ticket is going to look like and what they are going to accomplish, what are you expecting with kamala Harris on the ticket? Reporter: There was so much pressure on Joe Biden to pick not only a woman of color, but a black woman as racial unrest continues to rock this nation. James Clyburn who helped to propel Joe Biden's campaign to victory in the primary came out early and said he believed African-American woman needed to be on the ticket and that is something I have heard from other party leaders and even voters in this democratic process and so today history is made. And, you know, I was at senator Harris's announcement when she announced her bed and she said she was running to confront the toxic politics she believed is pushed by president trump. Now she will have a chance to do that as the running mate to Joe Biden. History is made today. As Rachel said, this year, 2020, when the killing of George Floyd turned to anger and anguish and a national reckoning that continues, Joe Biden's choice of kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick ensures that will be right at the center of the debate in the debate that vice presidential debate to come between kamala Harris and Mike pence. So once again, Joe Biden picked kamala Harris as his vice presidential nominee. They will be confirmed next week in this virtual zoom convention that they are planning. There will be more on this and on all the political stories on world news tonight and on the ABC news live streaming channel. Terry Moran here in Washington DC. Thanks for watching. This is been a special report from ABC news.
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