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Kamala Harris dodges talk of Biden during Essence Festival appearance in New Orleans

Kamala Harris attended the 30th annual Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans on Saturday, speaking about economic opportunity, threats to reproductive health, maternal mortality, and the dangers of a second Trump term. But there was one topic she didn’t get into that much . . . Biden. 

This is probably the most significant election of our lifetime. We have said it every four years, but this one here is it,” Harris said. “In 122 days, we each have the power to decide what kind of country we want to live in.”

During her 30-minute Q&A with Essence Ventures CEO Caroline Wanga, Harris barely mentioned Biden. Wanga didn’t seem to press the matter either, even though, less than 24 hours ago, the president gave yet another underwhelming performance — in an ABC interview — that only added fuel to the call for him to step down from the race.

When Harris addressed a standing-room-only crowd in a room that can seat over 500 people at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, she was introduced as a woman “doing the heavy lifting” who is a “proven fighter for the backbone of this country.” She entered and exited the stage to the tune of Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar’s song “Freedom,” in which Beyoncé sings the lyrics, “Singin’, freedom, freedom, Where are you?… Hey! I’ma keep running.”

Reminding the audience of the work the Biden-Harris Administration has accomplished over the last four years, Harris spoke about curbing the price of insulin paid by Medicare users, expanding access to public health insurance for low and moderate-income women, and billions in student loan debt forgiven. She asked the room, by a show of hands, if anyone had reaped the benefits of student loan forgiveness, and hundreds of hands shot up. 

“You got that because you voted in 2020,” Harris told the audience, according to reporting by the Guardian.  

One of the attendees, who introduced herself as a nurse practitioner from Cleveland, said she is working double-time to pay off hundreds of thousands in student loans since none of it had been forgiven. She was attending to hear the VP talk about second-term plans and by the end of the event she said, “I liked what I heard. I did, but want to hear more.” Adding, “Honestly, I think what we heard tonight is the next president of the United States. Isn’t that something?”

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