MANCHESTER, N.H. – There’s no letup in the criticism Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii’s leveling at rival Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris of California. But Gabbard says her repeated jabs at Harris – one of the top-tier contenders for their party’s presidential nomination – are all business.
“It’s not personal,” the three-term congresswoman told Fox News on Thursday as she campaigned in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.
Continuing her attacks of Harris’ prosecutorial record first as San Francisco district attorney and later as California attorney general – which she first launched last week during the second round of Democratic presidential nomination debates – Gabbard emphasized that “voters deserve an answer about the kind of record Sen. Harris has said she’s proud of when she was attorney general of California.”
The four-term congresswoman charged that Harris is “talking about how she’s a champion for the people but when she was in a position of power as attorney general in California, she perpetuated all that is wrong with our broken criminal justice system, negatively impacting far too many people in California, poor people, black and brown people who suffered as a result of the policies she put in place or that she perpetuated in that position.”
Asked if she’ll continue her attacks on Harris, the Hawaii Army National Guard officer who served in the Iraq War said her jabs are part of her pitch of “bringing these values of service about self to the presidency and what that really means.”
And in an indirect slam at Harris, Gabbard highlighted “it means putting people ahead of politics. Putting people ahead of any selfish interest. Putting people ahead of profits.”
Gabbard went viral last week after putting Harris in the hot seat with multiple attacks on Harris’ prosecutorial record, as she attempted to deflate the senator’s labeling of her tenure as a ‘progressive prosecutor.’
A fact check of Gabbard’s attacks indicated that at times she overstated things or omitted details.
Harris defended her record, telling CNN the morning after the debate that, “I am very proud of the work that I did as a prosecutor.”
The senator highlighted – among other things - her “innovative” re-entry initiative of getting jobs and counseling for former offenders and – and touted that as attorney general – becoming the first state to require special agents to wear body cameras.
And she brushed off Gabbard’s attacks as a case of lower-tier candidates “trying to make a name for themselves.”
Gabbard kept up her criticism this week, tweeting on Tuesday that “Kamala’s entire campaign is based on a lie.”
The slams come as Gabbard attempts to qualify for the third and fourth rounds of Democratic presidential nomination debates, which will be held in September and October. She’s spotlighted that she’s already reached the threshold of 130,000 contributions from individual donors. But she’s still short of the polling criteria – reaching two percent in four qualifying surveys.
Possibly complicating things will be Gabbard’s upcoming two-week deployment this month to Indonesia for Army National Guard training.
But Gabbard told Fox News “I’m not thinking about the politics of it. I’m proud to be able to have the opportunity to serve my country in different ways and I’m looking forward to fulfilling that duty and I have a great campaign team and volunteers who will continue carrying on the campaign in my absence.”