Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday pushed back against GOP attacks on both her ability to serve as commander in chief if needed and President Joe Biden’s age in the early race for the White House.
Republican presidential candidates — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — have homed in on the possibility of Harris’ serving as president while raising concerns about Biden’s age. If he wins a second term, Biden, 80, would be 86 years old at the end of it.
In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host Margaret Brennan asked Harris to respond to GOP attacks against her ability to serve as president: “They’re talking about what you would do as president as being a risk — they’re homing in on you. Why do you think that is? How do you respond to those attacks? That’s not about policy; that’s about you.”
Harris said the Republicans’ attacks against her abilities to serve in office are “not new,” noting that she was the first woman elected district attorney of San Francisco and the first woman to be attorney general of California, as well as having “represented 1 in 8 Americans” as a senator and being the first female vice president.
“They feel the need to attack because they’re scared that we will win based on the merit of the work that Joe Biden and I, and our administration, has done,” Harris said.
Citing a poll in The Wall Street Journal showing that two-thirds of Democrats say Biden is too old to run again, Brennan asked Harris whether she is prepared to be commander in chief.
“Yes, I am, if necessary,” she said. But Biden “is going to be fine,” she added.
Republicans have ramped up attacks on Biden’s age and mental fitness as the oldest president in U.S. history runs for re-election. In response, Biden’s campaign aides have been working to alleviate concerns over his age amid his physical and verbal slip-ups in recent months.
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Meanwhile, Biden has increasingly cracked jokes about his age as he ramps up his re-election campaign, according to an NBC News analysis of his remarks.
Harris — who has been warning about threats to abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year — also dismissed Republicans’ accusations about Democrats’ wanting abortion access until birth.
Pressed by Brennan on what week of pregnancy that abortion access should be cut off, Harris called for restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade.
“Let me be very clear,” Harris said. “From day one, the president has been clear, I have been clear. We need to put back the protections that are in Roe v. Wade into law. Since the Supreme Court took it, Congress has the power and ability to pass legislation to put those protections back in law, and Joe Biden will sign that bill. So that is what we want.”
Asked whether abortion access protections should be limited to a specific week of pregnancy, Harris reiterated her call to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as she declined to specify a timeline.
“We’re not trying to do anything that did not exist before June of last year,” she said in reference to the month when the Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion.
Brennan then pressed Harris about Republicans’ accusations about her stance on abortion: “I’m asking you for the specifics there, because Republicans say the lack of a precise date in cutting it off — you know this — they say that allows Democrats to perform abortions up until, you know, birth.”
Harris said the notion is “ridiculous” and a “mischaracterization of the point,” before Brennan again asked whether she needs to be more “precise” about acceptable limits on abortion access.
“I believe that we should put the protections of Roe v. Wade into law, and the way that will happen is if we have a United States Congress who, regardless of their personal view for themselves or their family, would agree that the women of America should be trusted to make decisions about their life and their body based on what they know to be in their best interest,” she said.
“It’s that simple.”