OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Joe Biden's vice presidential search committee met with a who's who of California Democrats on a Zoom call late last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf used up every second of her turn to make an urgent pitch for Kamala Harris, a self-described proud "daughter of Oakland, California."
Schaaf has known the U.S. senator since they were both barely 30 years old and extolled her virtues as a fierce advocate for Oakland's progressive values.
But Oaklanders know that Harris won't be the only one in the spotlight if she's who Biden chooses to join the Democratic ticket for the White House. The city of Oakland itself, which has been vilified by President Donald Trump as a miasma of urban horrors, will surely be in the crosshairs too.
The reaction in Oakland? Bring it on.
"We have a strong history in Oakland for standing up to being bullied," said Tracy Rosenberg, an Oakland activist and executive director of Media Alliance, a social justice activist organization. "That will continue."
Case in point: When Trump said in a Fox News interview in June that cities like Oakland and Detroit are "like living in hell," Schaaf quickly retorted on Twitter, "Hell is another four years of this racist in the White House."
Alrighty then! Is Oakland ready for another three months of this?
Harris has emerged as a presumptive finalist with Biden poised to name his running mate any day now ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 17 in Milwaukee.
The freshman U.S. senator and former presidential candidate seemed briefly doomed when Politico reported July 27 that former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, a key member of Biden's search committee, was concerned that Harris "had no remorse" for attacking Biden during a contentious June 2019 debate. "I know you're not a racist," Harris said at the start of the tense exchange, before dressing him down for his opposition in the 1970s to a federal school busing program and for giving a pass to segregationist senators.
But Biden said this week that he holds no grudges and Harris is "very much in contention." Fellow Californian Karen Bass, a Los Angeles congresswoman, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice are also in the mix.