Presidential candidate Kamala Harris fired up Iowa Democrats with an impassioned speech at the 2019 Liberty and Justice Celebration.
Taking the stage Friday night, Harris argued that she is the best candidate to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, underscoring her commitment to the American public while outlining her decades-long legal career as a prosecutor.
“I’ve only had one client in my entire life, and that’s the people,” Harris said.
Though she never mentioned any names, Harris then took what some perceived as a swipe at fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren, saying that “unlike others, I’ve never represented a corporation.” Warren represented the Cleveland-based conglomerate LTV Steel against the Clinton administration in 1995, according to The New York Times. The report also found Warren previously had other corporate clients including Travelers Insurance, Dow Chemical, and the aircraft maker Fairchild.
“I’ve never represented a special interest,” Harris continued. “In fact, the first day that I walked into a courtroom, I spoke five words: ‘Kamala Harris, for the people.’”
Harris and a dozen other Democratic hopefuls spoke at the celebration in Des Moines. It is the Iowa Democratic party’s largest event of the year, and many consider it a major opportunity for candidates to make their mark ahead of the state caucuses in February. Ahead of the celebration, Harris’ campaign embarked on a 100-person canvass across the city, per the Des Moines Register.
In her speech, Harris gave a rundown of her early years in public service, up to being elected as the San Francisco district attorney and eventually becoming the first woman attorney general of California. She explained how, since she was elected to Congress in 2016 (she represents California as a senator), she has gone after Trump appointees such as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and former and current U.S. Attorney Generals Jeff Sessions and William Barr.
“In the name of the people, I believe that in 2020, justice is on the ballot,” Harris said, outlining progressive issues such as Medicare for All, reproductive justice, and gun control. Harris also mentioned former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who announced Friday that he was dropping out of the race, and praised him for advocating for tougher gun control legislation.
Around halfway through her speech, the crowd started chanting, “For the people.” Harris’ speech was also well-received among journalists, pundits, activists, and fellow politicians.
The thing people always say about Kamala over her career—from family members to close aides—is she’s a clutch player. A long way to go to get back up in Iowa, but probably the best speech she could have given at a make-or-break time— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) November 2, 2019
.@kamalaharris delivers with great speech. Only candidate I saw to get standing ovation from people other than her supporters. Also, love from the #khive is heartwarming to behold. They love their candidate! #LJ19— Jennifer Palmieri (@jmpalmieri) November 2, 2019
#KamalaCrushedIt! That was a unifying call to place #JusticeIsOnTheBallot. @KamalaHarris art fully made the case to move us from party purity, dogmatic labels & ideology to systematically unlocking our potential as a united state of humans. https://t.co/nquaPTd87S | #L19 #KHive— Joanna Peña-Bickley (@jojobickley) November 2, 2019
This is the best I’ve heard Kamala. Period.— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) November 2, 2019
This is a welcome boon in the face of recent reports that her campaign is losing momentum. On Friday evening, around the time of her speech, news broke that Harris’ campaign shuttered three out of four campaign offices and fired her field organizers in New Hampshire, which also happens to be the first state to hold primary elections. Harris has been struggling in the polls in the Granite State, falling from 9% support in July to 3%, according to a CNN and University of New Hampshire poll released on Tuesday. A campaign spokesperson told CNN the move is part of Harris’ plan to focus her resources in Iowa.
While Harris got a lot of love on social media and from the event’s attendees — the Des Moines Register reports that Harris’ supporters filled a large part of the arena — it’s unclear how much this speech may ultimately move the needle among Iowa voters. A recent New York Times poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers, also released Friday, shows that Harris is polling at 3% statewide.
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