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Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday celebrating Joe Biden's selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate and calling it a reflection of Biden's "own judgment and character."

Why it matters: Obama recognized Harris's talent early on, in 2013 famously calling her "brilliant," "dedicated" and "tough." He and former First Lady Michelle Obama remain two of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party and are scheduled to headline two nights of next week's Democratic National Convention, where Harris will also give an address.

Full statement:

Choosing a vice president is the first important decision a president makes. When you’re in the Oval Office, weighing the toughest issues, and the choice you make will affect the lives and livelihoods of the entire country – you need someone with you who’s got the judgment and the character to make the right call. Someone whose focus goes beyond self-interest to consider the lives and prospects of others.
Joe Biden nailed this decision. By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president. They’re requirements of the job. And now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and in the years ahead. 
I’ve known Senator Harris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in: a story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love, there’s a place for you here. It’s a fundamentally American perspective, one that’s led us out of the hardest times before. And it’s a perspective we can all rally behind right now. 
Michelle and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Kamala, Doug, Cole, and Ella. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing.

Go deeper: More reactions from around the political world

Go deeper

Nov 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden to bring Donilon and Ricchetti into White House

Biden after delivering remarks on the economic recovery in Wilmington, Del. Nov. 16. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is bringing two longtime confidants — Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon — into the West Wing along with newer faces as he fills out out his senior White House staff.

Driving the news: Biden named Ron Klain as his chief of staff last week, and on Tuesday announced other members of his senior team.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

60 mins ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.