Election 2020: Biden and Harris speak together in Delaware

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6:50 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

4 key moments from Biden and Harris' first campaign event

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate Kamala Harris held their first campaign event together in Delaware today.

The candidates wore masks and maintained physical distance during their speeches.

In case you missed it, here's what they said:

  • Biden on why he picked Harris as his running mate: He called Harris "the right person" for the role of vice president. "Kamala, as you all know, is smart, she's tough, she's experienced, she's a proven fighter for the backbone of this country. The middle class. For all those who are struggling to get into the middle class. Kamala knows how to govern, she knows how to make the hard calls. She's ready to do this job on day one," he said.
  • Biden says Harris' story is "America's story": He described Harris as "a child of immigrants" who "knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America." "And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents," Biden said.
  • Harris urges Americans to vote: "We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be," she said. "Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it's true."
  • Harris on the importance of family: "I've had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But 'Momala' will always be the one that means the most," she said.

5:50 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Harris: "We need more than a victory" in November

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

California Sen. Kamala Harris called on the American people to organize and "vote like never before because we need more than a victory on November 3rd."

"We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be," she said. "Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it's true."

Harris continued: "When he saw what happened in Charlottesville three years ago today, he knew we were in a battle for the soul of our nation. And together with your help, that's a battle we will win. Earlier this year, I said I'd do whatever Joe asked me to do. And so now I'm asking you to do the same."

5:35 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Harris lays blame for the state of the coronavirus pandemic in the US at Trump's feet

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Sen. Kamala Harris zeroed in on President Trump when discussing why the US leads the world with the most Covid-19 infections.

The US leads the world with more than 5 million coronavirus cases "because of Trump's failure to take it seriously from the start," Harris said during her first appearance as Joe Biden's choice for vice president.

"His refusal to get testing up and running, his flip-flopping on social distancing and wearing masks. His delusional belief that he knows better than the experts. All of that is reason and the reason that an American dies of Covid-19 every 80 seconds," Harris said regarding Trump.

Harris claimed Trump "inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and Joe Biden" and "ran it straight into the ground."

"Because of Trump's failures of leadership our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all the major industrialized nations with an unemployment rate that has tripled as of today," the senator from California said.

5:32 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Kamala Harris says "Momala" will always be her most important job

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

During her speech, Sen. Kamala Harris discussed the importance of family in her life, referencing the nickname her kids have for her: "Momala"

She said, "I've had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But 'Momala' will always be the one that means the most." 

Harris talked about how her parents, Jamaican and Indian immigrants, met while protesting for civil rights in Oakland in the 1960s.

"My mother and father, they came from opposite sides of the world to arrive in America. One from India and the other from Jamaica in search of a world-class education. But what brought them together was the civil rights movement of the 1960s. And that's how they met as students in the streets of Oakland marching and shouting for this thing called justice in a struggle that continues today," she said.

The California senator said her parents would bring her to protests as a little girl "strapped tightly in my stroller." 

Watch:

5:26 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Harris: "I'm ready to get to work"

Pool
Pool

California Sen. Kamala Harris used her opening remarks during her first campaign appearance as Joe Biden's choice for vice president to honor the women who helped pave the way for her and acknowledge the work needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

"After the most competitive primary in history, the country received a resounding message that Joe was the person to lead us forward and, Joe, I'm so proud to stand with you. And I do so mindful of all the heroic and ambitious women before me whose sacrifice, determination and resilience makes my presence here today even possible," Harris said.

The California Democrat said she was "incredibly honored by this responsibility" and that she was "ready to get to work." "I am ready to get to work," she said.

Harris characterized 2020 as a "moment of real consequence for America."

"Everything we care about, our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in, it's all on the line. We're reeling from the worst public health crisis in a century. The President's mismanagement of the pandemic has plunging us into the worst economic crisis since the great depression," Harris said.

5:19 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Biden says he asked Harris "to be the last voice in the room" before big decisions

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he asked Kamala Harris to always tell him the truth and "to be the last voice in the room."

Here's what Biden said:

"When I agreed to serve as President Obama's running mate, he asked me a number of questions most important, he said to me, he asked me what I wanted most ... I told him I wanted to be the last person in the room before he made important decisions. That's what I asked Kamala. I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room." 

5:16 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Biden and Harris are practicing social distancing at today's campaign event

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both walked out together for their first campaign event wearing masks.

As Biden spoke during the event in Delaware, the senator from California sat in a chair at a distance.

Their spouses are also wearing masks and reporters in the room appear to be sitting apart from each other.

5:15 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Biden says he and Harris will have a "plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19"

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

As the US continues to struggle through the coronavirus pandemic, former Vice President Joe Biden offered words of solace for the more than 5 million Americans who have contracted the disease.

"The Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration will have a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic, masking, clear science-based guidance, dramatically scaling up testing, getting states and local governments the resources they need to open the schools and businesses safely. We can do this," Biden said at a campaign event, the first with him and Sen. Kamala Harris, his pick for vice president.

Biden said the country needs "a president and a vice president willing to lead and take responsibility."

5:15 p.m. ET, August 12, 2020

Biden: Kamala Harris' story is "America's story"

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden said during his opening remarks that his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris' story is "America's story."

He said she is "a child of immigrants" who "knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America." 

He continued: "And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents."