Vice President Kamala Harris will make the case for President Joe Biden’s reelection bid Tuesday at a political rally on reproductive freedom, a Harris adviser told CNN, saying that “finishing the job” for 2024 is about fighting to protect abortion access among other rights facing nationwide restrictions.
Harris will “highlight the extremism of elected Republicans and the unrelenting attacks on women and healthcare providers state by state,” the adviser said.
The vice president will speak at a major rally on the same day Biden announced his reelection bid, drawing an immediate contrast with Biden who is likely to shun more campaign-style events in the coming months. Earlier, a Biden adviser previously told CNN, “He’s just gonna keep doing his schedule.”
The reproductive freedom rally at the vice president’s alma mater Howard University will be a high-profile moment for Harris, crystallizing her role as the administration’s lead messenger in its efforts to safeguard access to abortion on a day where all eyes are on the White House following Biden’s announcement. Abortion rights protests were featured prominently in Biden’s long-awaited reelection campaign announcement video, in which he made the implicit case that he needed another term to restore the nation’s character.
But Biden and Harris face significant political headwinds in their bid for a second term, including low approval numbers and an unenthusiastic American electorate. A majority of voters, recent polling shows, does not want Biden to seek a second term, citing age as a major factor.
Still, the president’s said in his Tuesday video “the question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer,” a clear indication that issues like abortion will loom large in his argument for American voters to vote against “MAGA extremists,” and secure him a second term. Abortion rights were a motivating issue for Democrats during the 2022 midterm election and Biden officials hope to utilize the same energy in 2024.
“It’s a winning issue for them,” a source close to the vice president’s office told CNN.
Harris was also featured heavily in Biden’s announcement video, appearing 13 times over the course of the three-minute spot. The centrality of the vice president in the video’s imagery appeared to serve multiple purposes: to emphasize a younger generation of Democrats in Biden’s world, even as he enters his 80s; to underscore the importance of Black support; and to bolster Harris herself, who has been dogged by questions about her political operation, acumen and whether she should remain on the 2024 ticket over the course of her vice presidency.
Harris’ remarks will track closely with Biden’s campaign video message. Harris is expected to “describe the moment we’re in,” according to the adviser, in which reproductive rights are “under attack.” Harris will call out “extremist” Republicans who seek to make abortion bans federal law. She’ll also discuss book bans, voting rights and gun safety, the adviser said.
This will be the vice president’s second appearance at a rally on abortion in the last two weeks. In Los Angeles earlier this month, Harris made a surprise stop at a reproductive rights, calling on demonstrators to fight for access to abortion and “fundamental rights” after the Texas ruling on the abortion pill mifepristone.
“When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America,” Harris said at a rally in front of LA City Hall on April 15.
Harris’ Tuesday remarks also come less than a week after the Supreme Court issued a brief protecting access to medication abortion and blocking a court ruling that revoked FDA approval of the drug mifepristone while an appeal works its way through lower courts.
The vice president is set to join leaders from Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the ACLU and Emily’s List at a Tuesday rally at 6 p.m. ET.
Harris’ advisers say she, like Biden, will mostly maintain her regular schedule in the coming months, leveraging the power of the vice presidency and bully pulpit during her official White House events and travel outside of Washington that in recent months has focused on abortion rights, climate and upholding democracy broadly in effort to tout the administration’s agenda and draw contrast with the right.
Before the rally, Harris will host South Korea President Yoon for a visit to the NASA Space Flight Center and tour Goddard facilities, receive briefings from scientists on cooperative efforts regarding space exploration and addressing the climate crisis, and discuss both the present and the future of the countries’ partnership in space. They will also meet with Korean-American space experts, according to a White House official.