Joe Biden goes after Kamala Harris on her healthcare plan ahead of the CNN debate.
A statement issued today by the Biden campaign regarding Senator Kamala Harris’ Health Care Plan calls Harris’ history on healthcare “long and confusing.” Harris challenged Biden during the last debate on his record on race in a now-viral moment, which saw her support double in the polls and Biden’s position as frontrunner waver. The two will share the stage again at this upcoming debate, and Biden has an incentive to bite back.
Biden’s move, shifting focus to Harris’ healthcare record, serves to divert attention from his record, is an offensive move rather than a defensive one. The release from the Biden campaign also contains Negative language about Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All proposal, sarcastically complementing the Bernie camp: “To their credit, the Sanders campaign has been honest that the only way to enact Medicare for All without substantially raising taxes on the middle class would require ‘unicorns’ and ‘magic wands.’”
Beyond being a tactical response to Harris’ challenge to him, this release also represents another step in Biden’s larger campaign strategy. In an unprecedentedly progressive democratic field, the Biden campaign hopes to position itself as the centrist alternative. Biden is committed to “be straight with the American middle class.”
Whether targeting Harris on healthcare and cementing his centrality will buoy Biden will come down to the debate. Shifting focus will probably not be enough, he still will have to respond to Harris’ questions about his record.