Apr 10, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Inside Kamala Harris' fast Arizona trip after abortion ruling

Harris is gesticulating and has her mouth open

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in San San José, Calif., at a reproductive rights event. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris tweaked her schedule last Friday to make this week's visit to Arizona an official campaign event, allowing her to lace into the state's Supreme Court abortion ruling, in person and on the ground.

Why it matters: Spicy statements by the president or vice president are one way to ride a news cycle. An actual visit by a principal — in this case, Harris — allows the campaign to create a new one.

  • She will use the Tucson trip to lay the state court's decision, which effectively bans abortion, at the feet of former President Trump.
  • The Biden campaign is showing that it can be nimble — and quick — in responding to court cases as it works to leverage its perceived advantage on abortion.

What we're hearing: Harris' team had been planning an Arizona trip for weeks, but late last week, her advisers got wind of the timing of the state Supreme Court decision.

  • At a scheduling meeting last Friday, Harris told her team that it should seize the opportunity, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • She wanted the focus of her Tucson remarks to be reproductive rights. She also instructed her team to make the trip an official campaign one.
  • That designation will allow Harris to go further politically — and repeatedly attack Trump by name — than if she were on official business.

The intrigue: On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court advised that it would release its abortion decision on Tuesday.

  • That gave Harris and her team time to prepare two statements and give the Arizona Republic a heads-up about her visit.
  • An hour after the court dropped its decision, the newspaper had a story up, previewing the vice president's trip.

Flashback: Harris has been taking the lead to make the abortion case directly to the American people.

  • She used a visit to Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota, last month to warn of conservative "extremists," but she didn't mention Republicans or Trump by name.
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