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Biden, Harris friendship faces the test of a campaign

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AP Washington
Nearly a year after Beau Biden died of brain cancer, Kamala Harris was still grieving.
Speaking at the California Democratic Party's convention in 2016, Harris spoke of Biden's family as one that "truly represents our nation's highest ideals, a powerful belief in the nobility of public service."

She then praised his father, Joe, saying the then-vice president "has given so much to our country and on top of everything he has accomplished, he gave to us my dear friend, Beau." Joe Biden later took the stage, calling Harris among the "great friends" he and Beau had in California.
Harris and Beau Biden formed a close friendship during their time as state attorneys general Harris in California and Biden in Delaware. It was that relationship that drew Harris closer to Joe Biden and has come into focus now that they're both vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Most of the two dozen White House hopefuls have pre-existing friendships from their time on Capitol Hill or other Democratic circles. But few are as complex and potentially awkward as the tie between Harris and Joe Biden.
They've bonded over their deep love and admiration of Beau Biden and a sadness over his loss that lingers four years after his death. But signs of tension that could strain the relationship have already surfaced.
Her campaign, for instance, has resented talk that she would be a perfect running mate for Joe Biden. After a recent New Hampshire town hall, she pointedly joked that Joe Biden would be a great running mate because "as vice president, he's proven he knows how to do the job." Yet while many candidates in the race have derided Joe Biden's high-dollar fundraisers and past policy stances, Harris has largely refrained.
If they share the stage at one of the upcoming presidential debates, their approach to each other could be further tested. Given their past history, some Democrats doubt Harris and Joe Biden will swing too hard against each other at least early on.
"In this instance, I have to believe that when you're talking about someone having lost their child and someone who lost a friend and a colleague, I think that creates respect, not rancor," said Democratic strategist Karen Finney.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 11:40 PM IST

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