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Ready to serve as leader, says Kamala Harris


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US Vice President Kamala Harris said she was ready to serve as leader, in a Wall Street Journal interview published on Monday (12), as voter concerns mount about president Joe Biden’s age in an election year.

Harris, 59, has faced growing scrutiny about her own abilities as the first in line to the presidency should Democrat Biden, 81, be incapacitated, or stand down.

“I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris told the newspaper when asked whether voters’ concerns about Biden’s age meant she must convince them of her credentials.

Everyone who sees her on the job “walks away fully aware of my capacity to lead,” said Harris, the first black, south Asian and female vice president in US history.

The interview was carried out two days before a stinging special counsel report portrayed Biden as elderly and forgetful.

Special counsel Robert Hur’s probe into Biden’s handling of classified documents said the president should not face charges, but damningly said he would come across to a jury as a “well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”

The White House hit back hard at the report, noting that Hur interviewed Biden when he was under intense pressure the day after the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Harris also sprang to Biden’s defence, branding the special counsel’s report as a “politically motivated” one.

Harris has taken on a growing role in Biden’s reelection campaign, focusing on subjects, including abortion, ahead of November’s vote in which he is expected to face a rematch with former president Donald Trump.

Republicans have frequently targeted Harris and polls show the former California senator suffers from low approval ratings, like Biden himself.

Later this week, Harris is due to deliver a “major foreign policy speech” and hold several bilateral meetings with foreign leaders from February 15 to 17 to discuss support for Ukraine in its war against the Russian invasion and the situation in the Middle East, the White House said in a statement.

Harris will lead the US delegation to the annual Munich Security Conference, dubbed the Davos of Defence, which brings together western diplomats and military officials.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has just returned from a trip to the Middle East, will also attend the forum later week.

Every year, the Munich conference brings together the military elite from around the world and is seen as a barometer of transatlantic relations.

“The Vice President will underscore the importance of sustaining US leadership and strengthening our alliances and partnerships,” the White House statement said.


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