ABC News devoted an hour on Sunday to the first joint interview with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and while their naturally was a focus on just what chemistry there is between the two former rivals, the news out of the special was on the campaign ahead.
A few examples:
Biden on taxes: “I will raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000. Let me tell you why I’m going to do it. It’s about time they start paying a fair share of the economic responsibility we have. The very wealthy should pay fair share, corporations should pay a fair share.”
Biden on Donald Trump’s attacks that he’s not up to the job: “Watch me. Mr. President, watch me.”
And Biden on what he would do if he wins if Trump refuses to leave the White House: “The American people will not let that happen.”
The interview was unusual in that ABC News devoted an hour primetime special to it, landing the Democratic ticket after cycle after cycle in which 60 Minutes has had the exclusive. ABC News also had Muir and Roberts interview The Ticket, as the special was called, separately.
Socially distanced six feet apart for their sit-down, Biden and Harris avoided any turn of phrase that could suggest that there was any sort of lingering rift between them.
A couple of times during the interview, there were references to a moment at the first Democratic debate in June, 2019. That was when Harris said that Biden’s remarks about working with segregationist senators were hurtful and personal.
David Muir asked about it, and then, in another interview, Robin Roberts also asked about it.
“I want Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States,” she told Roberts. I believe in Joe Biden, I believe in his perspective, and frankly I think that’s that conversation is a distraction from what we need to accomplish right now and what we need to do.”
As for Biden, he told Muir about the moment, “I sense exactly where she’s coming from and I think — look, I think a lot of people, and maybe even the senator at the time didn’t know the depth of my record.”
Muir also asked about another difference: Harris supported Medicare for All; Biden didn’t.
“I signed on to that. I signed on to a number of bills that were about great ideas to fix the problem,” Harris said. “I want to fix the problem. And Joe has a plan to fix the problem and I’m fully supportive of it.”
Biden said, “I don’t think we have any disagreement on the basic question of what we have to do, as a nation, and, and it’s always been more tactic than it has been about a fundamental difference.”
I don’t think we have any disagreement on the basic question of what we have to do, as a nation, and, and it’s always been more tactic than it has been about a fundamental difference.
What merited more questioning is how they would govern, should they win, and especially if the Senate is still in the hands of Republicans or Democrats have control by just a hair. But overall the interview generally worked in the campaign’s favor, valuable primetime exposure on the eve of the start of the Republican National Convention. Not to be outdone, Trump scheduled a press conference earlier in the evening, then did an interview with Fox News’ Steve Hilton at 9 PM ET.
There was one moment from the interview in which Biden gave Trump a new line of attack. That came when Muir asked him what he would do if scientists recommended that the country be shut down the country again.
“I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists,” Biden said.
ABC News released a clip of that exchange on Friday, and Trump tweeted about it on Sunday. We’ll likely hear more about it this week.