Kamala Harris made her first trip to Iowa since becoming vice president on Thursday. She participated in a panel discussion with Democrat officials and progressive leaders in Des Moines. The topic of discussion was abortion. She told them, “Iowa is on the front line” in the national fight for abortion rights.
The one task that Joe Biden has given Kamala that she has taken seriously is outreach across the country on abortion since the Dobbs decision in the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. Go figure. Democrats plan to keep the abortion issue front and center as the presidential election comes around, just as they did during the midterm elections. In Iowa, Kamala said that 61% of voters in Iowa support abortion rights.
“What we have seen now is sadly what we predicted,” Harris said. “People around our country are concerned, afraid, confused, desperate, in many ways feeling alone.”
In Iowa, abortion is currently legal in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
But Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to allow a law to take effect that would ban most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. Oral arguments are scheduled for next month.
Top Republicans in the Legislature want to wait for the outcome of that case before they pass any further laws, but some have angled for quicker action.
Kamala dinged Republicans for abortion law in Iowa.
Harris referenced Republican leaders in Iowa who have pushed to limit abortion access in the state, including newly elected Attorney General Brenna Bird, who has joined attorneys general around the country in warning CVS and Walgreens that they could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills by mail in their states.
“At the core of these issues is a foundational issue for our country,” Harris said. “And it is the principle that we are founded on which says that we each are entitled to freedom and liberty in its most basic manifestation. And is this not about freedom and liberty — the ability to make these decisions about one’s own life?”
Harris noted that polling shows Iowans are broadly supportive of abortion access in Iowa.
According to an October 2022 Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, 61% of Iowans say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 33% say all or most cases should be illegal. Six percent are unsure.
Kamala found out that not all people in Iowa are fans of her progressive views. After she participated in the panel discussion, she and her husband Doug Emhoff popped in for the NCAA’s March Madness tournament. They watched her alma mater, Howard University, lose to college basketball powerhouse Kansas. Oh well. When she and the Second Gentleman were shown on the jumbotron, the crowd booed. Some applauded, according to the AP report but the applause was drowned out by boos. Oh well.
This is how theVP slips into the NCAA Tourney. pic.twitter.com/jCjhyhKbZV
— Marcus McIntosh KCCI (@MarcusKCCI) March 16, 2023
@VP at the Howard game. #NCAATournament pic.twitter.com/CClpgrdpnZ
— Crystal4Kamala – Proud Democrat (@crystal4obama) March 16, 2023
Having graduated from the historically black college and university (HBCU) with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics in 1986, Harris showed up in a suite at the Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday to see her Bisons get blown out by the Jayhawks, 68-96, along with her husband and second gentleman, Doug Emhoff.
‘I mean, here we are in Des Moines. And they are a tough time, they work hard, they are so disciplined and it is a joy to watch them here in March Madness,’ Harris said of Howard’s men’s basketball team in the second half. ‘So many of us who are here, we love our school.’
‘And Howard University, I ran for my first office as freshman class representative and have always been part of the Howard community. And I’m sure that everyone who has a team understands what it means and the joy and the commitment that we have in the traditions and the loyalty to your team.’
To add insult to injury, the vice president went back to the locker room after the game and spoke to the team and coach. Chef Kamala served up a classic word salad.
"You made all us Bison so proud." ❤️@VP Kamala Harris delivered a postgame message to @HUMensBB 👏 #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/zwQFcwlWYX
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 16, 2023
The woman is so awkward when she speaks off the cuff.
‘You put everything you had into the game, and you know that’s what it’s about, right,’ Harris said. ‘Until the last minute, you guys did that. You didn’t stop until the last second, you did not stop. And that is so inspiring.’
‘So you keep playing with chin up and shoulders back because you showed the world who Bison are. I mean, literally what you have done is in historic proportion. I was at Howard back in the day, where we just happy that there was a game, much less getting to this place.’
”And I see Bison literally all over the world, and we’ve been talking about you, this team. […] You make us so proud. So In know you may not be feeling great right now, but know who you are. You are excellence. You are hard work. You are powerful, and you are winners. So please know that.’
She invited the team to come and take a White House tour “whenever they feel like playing ‘hooky’ from school.” I’m sure Kamala would make herself available to guide the tour since her calendar isn’t exactly filled up with engagements.
As for the Second Gentleman, he’s been assigned to raise awareness about antisemitism. He also speaks out about masculine toxicity. During a live-audience Q&A with MSNBC’s Symone Sanders-Townsend, Emhoff compared school board meetings in the United States to Nazi Germany.
Doug Emhoff says the "hate" that led to the Holocaust is "interconnected" to the "hate [in America] you see just going to a school meeting." pic.twitter.com/wvNAsFrz3O
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 15, 2023
What an idiot. Kamala and Doug make quite the pair, right?