As College Students Protest, Harris Keeps Her Focus on Abortion

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As College Students Protest, Harris Keeps Her Focus on Abortion


Vice President Kamala Harris, campaigning in Wisconsin on Monday, took another sharp swipe at former President Donald J. Trump over his stance against abortion, a hot-button issue across the country. But she remained silent on the war in Gaza, another issue looming elsewhere among the critical bloc of young voters she is courting.

The split screen captured the advantages and challenges for Democrats heading into the November presidential election. Even as the party tries to galvanize voters behind the wave of abortion restrictions in numerous states since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it faces internal divisions among key parts of its coalition.

On Monday, as demonstrations gripped college campuses on the East Coast, Ms. Harris turned her attention squarely to Mr. Trump and what she called his attacks on women. She viewed the 2024 election as a decision about preserving freedom, which she called “fundamental to the promise of America.”

“This is a moment when we must stand up for fundamental values ​​and principles,” she told around 100 people at a community center in La Crosse in the western part of the state. “When we think about what’s at stake, it’s absolutely about freedom.”

Abortion rights have become a focus of President Biden’s re-election campaign, and Ms. Harris has played a leading role.

Their event in La Crosse was part of a day-long trip to the battleground state for official and campaign duties involving health care and reproductive rights. Earlier in the day, Ms. Harris joined a panel of health care workers and leaders and unveiled two rule changes from the Biden administration that will benefit hundreds of thousands of health care workers.

The changes establish new national minimum staffing standards for federally funded nursing homes – the first of their kind – and a new requirement designed to help increase pay for home health care workers by mandating that 80 percent of Medicaid payments be for home care services are spent on paying employees as opposed to administrative costs.

What was notable, however, was their silence on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Ms. Harris has worked to offset Mr. Biden’s weaknesses among young and black voters. She has visited South Carolina repeatedly, began a college tour last year and is making the rounds on the campaign trail to defend abortion rights and promote the Democratic agenda.

In an interview with a Milwaukee television reporter on Monday, she spoke about anti-Semitism in America, particularly after the Hamas attacks in Israel that sparked the Gaza conflict, saying: “What we’ve seen now since October 7th is what we’re seeing “It’s just growing, and I’m very worried about it.”

Wisconsin is a crucial swing state for Democrats, part of their so-called blue wall and one of a few states likely to decide the race in November.

“We are not fighting against anything, we are fighting to ensure that everything we believe in is good and right in our country,” Ms. Harris said.



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2024-04-23 03:04:06

www.nytimes.com