With her campaign for the U.S. Senate under way, and with no major challengers, Kamala Harris has announced she will run for president, too.
“Too many people in California struggle to make ends meet and pay their bills, and I want to go to Washington to help find solutions,” she told reporters at a press conference yesterday. “But a lot of people in other states have these problems also, so if I’m going to Washington anyway I might as well do the same thing but, you know, for America.”
Harris, the California attorney general, is a rising star in Democratic politics, and some observers had speculated that she could be a future presidential candidate should she win Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in 2016. Harris said that it would save time and money to pursue both campaigns at once.
“My campaign isn’t doing much of anything right now,” she said. “They might as well get started on something else.”
Harris likely will have to endure a Democratic primary battle with Hillary Clinton, who has not declared her candidacy but is considered a likely contender.
“Normally I’d be happy to wait until 2024 and be Hillary’s attorney general or vice president or something in the meantime,” Harris said. “But I’m just looking for something to do.”
In recent weeks, the candidate had become concerned that Harris for Senate staff members were doing “a lot of sitting around,” according to a senior adviser who requested anonymity so as to stay in the good graces of a future U.S. senator and now maybe even president.
“We started to have strategy meetings, but it was clear we were just fooling ourselves,” the staffer added. “There was one point in a meeting when no one had spoken for five minutes and I looked around and realized everyone was playing Candy Crush Saga.”
UCLA politics professor Finley Patterson said that, while Harris’ double candidacy will be unprecedented, it is in keeping with today’s go-go culture.
“It’s a product of the Internet and our tech-obsessed world, where everyone wants to do things faster,” Patterson said.
At the press conference, Harris also declined to rule out asking President Obama to put her on the short list for Supreme Court Justice, should one retire before the end of his term.
“We live in an era of multitasking,” Harris said. “Smartphones allow us to easily switch among many tasks, such as email, Facebook and Twitter, or two political campaigns and a confirmation hearing.”
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