Election 2020: Biden and Harris speak together in Delaware

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:17 PM ET, Wed August 12, 2020
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1:05 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Harris is now under Secret Service protection — but we're not sure what her code name is

From CNN’s Noah Gray


A law enforcement source tells CNN that Kamala Harris is now under the protection of the United States Secret Service following Joe Biden's announcement that the senator is his pick for vice president.

Her code name was not immediately known as the source said it likely had not been selected yet.

CNN saw Harris pull out of her Washington, DC, apartment in her new motorcade Wednesday morning on her way to join Joe Biden in Delaware.

12:45 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Harris and Pence will face off in October debate

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Getty Images
Getty Images

Kamala Harris being named Joe Biden's vice presidential pick sets a match-up between the California senator and Vice President Mike Pence on the debate stage in October.

The vice presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 7, and will be hosted at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Vice presidential debates rarely change the course of presidential elections but could showcase the strengths and vulnerabilities of each ticket weeks before the November election.

Before Harris ended her own presidential bid in December, the senator participated in five Democratic primary debates. A former prosecutor, Harris showed the ability to command a debate stage and deliver attacks using her courtroom-sharpened skills. Her campaign's argument at the time was that out of the numerous Democratic candidates Harris was in the best position to "prosecute the case" against President Trump.

Harris generated one of the most electric moments of the race at the first debate in June when she took aim at Biden. She confronted Biden over his 1970s-era opposition to the federal government's role in using school busing to integrate schools while highlighting her personal story as young child who benefited from early busing in Berkeley, California.

Biden appeared unprepared for the line of attack and bristled as Harris repeatedly pressed him on his decades-old position.

For his part, Pence has participated in one national debate. In October 2016, Pence debated then-Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, a senator from Virginia, at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Pence, who was the governor of Indiana at the time, delivered a steady performance and focused his attacks on 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Pence, who was calm and refused to be baited, largely ignored Kaine's attacks on then-Republican nominee Donald Trump. He instead sought to lampoon Clinton over vulnerabilities like her private email server and record as secretary of state.

12:44 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

This is former VP candidate Tim Kaine's advice to Harris 

From CNN's Kristin Wilson 

The 2016 Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, offered some advice to his Senate colleague – and now 2020 Democratic VP candidate, Kamala Harris.

“I think they should really focus on doing a healthy number of events together, because there's a tendency – like, you want to do as many events as you can, so 'you do your events, I'll do mine, and then we can do more.' But I think, I think the public likes to see the working relationship, what's the working relationship going to be like.”

He said the events he did with Hillary Clinton during their 2016 run “were more fun. I think they were more fun for me, they were more fun for her. And I think it's a good thing to do.”

Kaine also said he thinks Harris will hold up just fine in the upcoming vice presidential debate against Mike Pence set for October: “She's, she's very, very good. I mean, obviously, her judiciary, intel performance has always demonstrated that she knows how to debate and deal with a witness so she'll be fine. Yeah.”

12:45 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

The Biden-Harris ticket will not be too far left for some voters, one Democrat says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell said he is not concerned that Sen. Kamala Harris might be too far left for some voters.

“Republican women voters are moving away from Donald Trump. They're disgusted by him,” Swalwell told CNN’s Jim Sciutto, adding that he spoke to some of these women voters yesterday and seeing Kamala Harris on the ticket does not make them lean back towards Trump.

The Biden-Harris ticket does not take America back to where the country was before Trump, but hopes to “do better than where we were before,” Swalwell said, pointing to issues like freedom of the press, racial justice and income inequality.

“It’s the perfect ticket that looks just like America and will do better.”

He then repeated his confidence in Harris.

“I know who Kamala Harris is because I come from the same District Attorney's office in Alameda county. And that office had a creed, which was we don't seek wins, we seek justice. And I think that has defined her career," he said. "I think that's why she'll be a great partner for Joe Biden.”

12:33 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Biden: I picked Harris because "she's ready to lead on day one"

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha 

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Joe Biden this morning offered some insight on why he picked Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate. 

Biden tweeted that he picked Harris as his running mate because she’s “ready to lead on day one,” an argument he has also often made for himself on the campaign trail. 

“If Kamala Harris and I are elected, we’re going to inherit multiple crises, a nation divided, and a world in disarray. We won’t have a minute to waste. That's exactly why I picked her: She's ready to lead on day one,” Biden wrote in a tweet. 


The Biden campaign went on the offensive in their response to President Trump’s Wednesday morning tweet, saying that the “suburban housewife” will vote for him.  

Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates issued a statement hitting Trump on the tweet, saying it proves “that he's dumbfounded after Joe Biden's selection of a strong running mate who he himself said not two weeks ago would be a 'fine choice.'"

Here's the full statement:

"Donald Trump's presidency is melting down after his failed, divisive, erratic leadership has cost over 160,000 American lives, tens of millions of jobs, and left the United States the hardest-hit country in the world by COVID-19,” Bates said in a statement. “As he struggles in vain attempts to tear the American people apart and distract the country from his devastating mismanagement with clumsy, bigoted lies, he's only further discrediting himself — and proving that he's dumbfounded after Joe Biden's selection of a strong running mate who he himself said not two weeks ago would be a 'fine choice.'"


12:25 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff will both attend today's campaign event

Jill Biden, Joe Biden's wife, and Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris' husband, will both attend today’s campaign event in Wilmington, according to Jill Biden spokesperson Michael LaRosa.

Jill Biden welcomed Emhoff to the team yesterday with this tweet:

Emhoff responded that he is "ready to work!"

About Emhoff: Emhoff had been a quietly supportive presence during Harris' own 2020 run. He was often spotted backstage or at the edge of Harris' crowds at both her campaign events and book tour events last year, although he once rushed onstage to grab an animal rights protester who leapt on stage to confront Harris.

The Brooklyn native — who moved to Southern California in his teens and attended the USC Gould School of Law — launched his own firm in 2000 before Venable acquired it in 2006. At DLA Piper, Emhoff has continued to focus on business, entertainment and intellectual property law in both California and Washington, DC.

The couple was set up on a blind date in 2013 when Harris was California's attorney general by her best friend, Chrisette Hudlin.

12:16 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Here's why Biden picked Harris

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Dan Merica, Arlette Saenz, Maeve Reston and Eric Bradner

Getty Images
Getty Images

Kamala Harris started out in the vice presidential search process as a favorite because of her experience as a senator, California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco and her extensive vetting as a presidential candidate.

Ultimately, she was chosen by Joe Biden the "common sense pick" who everybody could agree would "do no harm," a source familiar with the vetting process told CNN.

With her multi-racial background as the child of two immigrants to the United States, her allies believed she could complement Biden as a symbol of a changing America.

She also proved to be a hardworking surrogate for Biden in recent months, taking part in everything from virtual policy events with voters in swing districts to a live DJ dance party fundraiser with Diplo and D-Nice online.

When Trump tweeted about delaying the election in late July, she responded on Twitter by saying he is "terrified" because "he knows he's going to lose to @JoeBiden. It will require every single one of us to make that happen."

Still, some members of Biden's team resisted choosing Harris. A recent Politico story noted that former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who was helping vet candidates, was still galled by her attack on Biden during a June 2019 debate in Miami, when she criticized his work with segregationist senators and highlighted his fight against busing to desegregate schools decades ago.

The pushback against Harris apparently became so strong that Biden felt the need to defend her during his July 28 press conference, where an Associated Press photo captured the talking points about her on his notecard that included "do not hold grudges" and "great help to campaign."

Harris also benefited from being a running mate who could match this turbulent moment in American history.

Many of the issues at the center of her life's work -- including criminal justice reform, improving health care for Black Americans and tackling income inequality -- have come to the forefront in the three-pronged crisis America is now facing: the coronavirus pandemic (which has disproportionately affected communities of color), the fight against systemic racism and an economic recession.

Read more here.

12:24 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Biden and Harris will appear together for the first time as running mates today

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Dan Merica, Arlette Saenz, Maeve Reston and Eric Bradner

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate Kamala Harris will deliver remarks this afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware.

After the speech, Biden and Harris are set to appear together at an online fundraiser for "grassroots" small-dollar donors.

Yesterday, Biden announced Harris was his vice presidential pick for the 2020 election ballot, making the California senator the first Black and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party's presidential ticket.

"I've decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021," the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee wrote in an email Tuesday.

In selecting Harris, Biden adds to the Democratic ticket a former primary rival who centered her own presidential bid on her readiness to take on Trump and show Americans she would fight for them. She rose to national prominence within the Democratic Party by interrogating Trump nominees during Senate hearings, from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Harris' selection came months after Biden committed to picking a woman to join him on the Democratic ticket. Harris, 55, is now the third woman to serve as a vice presidential candidate for a major political party, following Geraldine Ferraro as the Democratic vice presidential pick in 1984 and Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential pick in 2008.

Aware that his age could be a concern to some voters, Biden, 77, has said that he is "a bridge" to a new slate of Democratic leaders, and by selecting Harris, more than 20 years his junior, he has elevated a leading figure from a younger generation within the party.