As questions about Biden mount, Kamala Harris sports better polls, more appearances, puff pieces

President Biden’s lackluster debate performance has turned the spotlight to Vice President Kamala Harris, who has started to show off a more visible campaign role as November approaches.

Harris suddenly figures to play a defining role in the campaign down the stretch, a turnaround for a vice president that many critics have panned as a potential liability for Democrats in November.

The negativity surrounding Harris even garnered calls for the vice president to step away from the campaign as recently as March, and one Washington Post column called on Harris to ‘step aside’ for ‘the country’s sake.’

Now, some have speculated Harris could take over at the top of the ticket after Biden’s debate performance. The vice president’s visibility already started to increase before last week. 

Media outlets have taken notice, leading to an avalanche of positive press for the vice president in recent months. Harris was called ‘Biden’s secret weapon in North Carolina’ in a report in The Hill, which noted the vice president made her fifth trip to the battleground state last month and has led the outreach to Black communities, a largely Democratic demographic Biden has struggled to court in his rematch with former President Trump.

‘She’s one of the administration’s best spokespeople to the Black community,’ Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons told The Hill. ‘The president has been making the case to the Black community as well, but obviously the VP has a different kind of appeal.’ 

A February report in the Los Angeles Times declared that Harris had finally ‘found her groove,’ citing the vice president’s appeal to younger voters and her voice on issues such as abortion.

‘She’s become a top fundraiser for Democrats, an emissary to groups that are lukewarm toward President Biden — in particular Black and younger voters — and emerged as the administration’s most forceful voice on abortion, women’s health and, as Harris frames it, the threat Trump poses to freedom and individual choice,’ the story said.

A few months later, a New York Times report declared the ‘Harris moment has arrived,’ calling her the ‘perfect messenger’ for the campaign for issues such as ‘reproductive rights.’

Some polls have seemingly caught on to the vice president’s strengthening position, with a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted last month finding the vice president gaining strength with key demographics, including a 67% favorable rating among Black voters.

The poll represented a turnaround for Harris, who had trailed Biden with Black voters going back to the 2020 primary. But she now leads the president in the crucial Democratic voting bloc by four points.

‘She’s been good at energizing active bases that Democrats have really needed — young Black voters, Black women. These are constituencies that Democrats can never take for granted,’ Democratic strategist Trip Yang told Politico.

Harris’ visibility has only increased since the debate performance, with the vice president serving as a defender of the president across multiple networks in the minutes after the debate. She has also been active on the campaign trail, making stops in Las Vegas, Utah, and Southern California in the days following the debate.

While many prominent Democrats have publicly backed Biden remaining the party’s nominee, there have been growing cries for Harris to take over at the top of the ticket. A New York Times opinion column the day after the debate declared that Harris ‘could win this election,’ while a Vox Media column asked ‘what about Kamala?’

Former U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio became one of the first nationally prominent Democrats to publicly advocate for Harris to take over for Biden.

‘We have to rip the band aid off!  Too much is at stake,’ Ryan said in a post on X Tuesday, adding that Harris has ‘significantly grown into her job.’

‘She will destroy Trump in debate, highlight choice issue, energize our base, bring back young voters and give us generational change,’ said Ryan, who lost his 2022 Senate bid to Republican JD Vance. ‘It’s time!’

Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett Tuesday became the first actively-serving Democrat on Capitol Hill to call on Biden to step aside from the presidential race. 

‘Our overriding consideration must be who has the best hope of saving our democracy from an authoritarian takeover by a criminal and his gang,’ he said in a statement. ‘Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory – too great a risk to assume that what could not be turned around in a year, what was not turned around in the debate, can be turned around now.’

Unlike Ryan, Doggett did not say whether he preferred Harris or another Democrat to replace Biden.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS