By almost every measure, and in every wrap-up, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had a rough second debate. One of the biggest thorns in her side was Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who stayed focused on kicking Harris while she was down the day after the debate.
As I mentioned in my wrap-up of the debate last night, the whole thing was set up for Harris to have a huge, breakout performance. Instead, her voice was shaky and she was on the defensive all night, even though the majority of the attacks were aimed at former Vice President Joe Biden.
For most of the evening, Harris came off as a snooty, popular high school girl who had never been criticized to her face before.
Combat veteran Gabbard went straight for Harris’s greatest weaknesses: her record as San Francisco’s district attorney and then as California’s attorney general, both of which have been attacked by progressives.
The best Harris has been able to come up with to defend herself thus far is to note that she is polling better than Gabbard. That is obviously true but, as a GOP strategist told the Washington Post, it shows “that when cornered, she doesn’t perform very well.”
Seizing what may be her only moment in the primary spotlight, Gabbard was far less charitable.
“Honestly, it’s pathetic that when confronted with the facts and the truth about her record that she claims to be proud of as a prosecutor, as attorney general of California, all she can do is lob cheap smears,” Gabbard told Hill.TV on Thursday in response to Harris’s remarks.
It doesn’t take much for fortunes to take a downward turn in a primary field this big. Harris may be a “top-tier” candidate, but there are three candidates above her in that tier and she’s barely polling in double digits.
Gabbard may not be around for long, but she most definitely softened Harris’s weakest flank with her attacks and exposed just how ill-prepared the senator is to defend it.
If any of the other higher-polling candidates smell blood in the water, Harris may not be around for very long either.