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Kamala Harris

As Biden abandons 'Bidenomics,' Harris makes a different case before Black voters

ATLANTA — Vice President Kamala Harris is shaking up her approach to the Black community and making the economy the focal point of a multi-state tour that she kicked off on Monday in Georgia.

Harris came to the battleground state to make an urgent case to voters who delivered a surprise victory for President Joe Biden that he'll ease their everyday costs if he wins reelection. It’s part of a concerted effort by the White House to win back disappointed Americans by putting kitchen table issues at the front of the president's agenda.

During much of last year, Biden campaigned on a slogan of "Bidenomics" touting wins such as historic investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and the middle class. But Biden struggled to convince voters they were experiencing a post-pandemic economic revival as the cost of food; housing and other services have remained high – even after inflation has decreased from its peak.

During her visit, the vice president focused on lowering housing costs, decreasing debt and increasing wealth for Black communities.

"Everybody wants a job and President Joe Biden and I are very proud that in our administration, we have brought Black unemployment down to historic lows," Harris said. "But that's a baseline."

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Vice President Kamala Harris hosts a roundtable discussion on criminal justice reform in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on April 25, 2024 in Washington, DC. The meeting included four of the sixteen people who had been convicted of non-violent drug offenses in the past and received clemency from President Joe Biden earlier this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 776137941 ORIG FILE ID: 2150194135

Harris sought to draw attention to actions the Biden administration has taken to increase entrepreneurs' access to capital, lower housing costs, support historically Black Colleges and Universities and lessen college debt during a moderated conversation and a stop at an Atlanta nonprofit.

"We know that home ownership is probably the most effective way to build intergenerational wealth," Harris declared during an on-stage discussion with the leaders of a Black entrepreneur network.

Biden's support from Black voters is experiencing significant attrition in particular. Much of it coming from Black men.

He trails presumptive GOP nominee and former President Donald Trump in a handful of battleground states, including Georgia. An April survey taken by Morning Consult showed him eight points down in the swing state that he beat Trump in nearly four years ago. Georgia voters say the economy is their top concern in the 2024 presidential election, and just 29% say the economy is on the right track.

Harris' job approval rating is also upside down with voters. She had a 52% disapproval rating nationally in a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll in March. A bare majority of Black voters, 51%, approved in the same poll.

Her overall support from voters was similar in Georgia in the Morning Consult survey taken in April, when 38% of the state's voters said they had a favorable view of her and 53% said they did not.

Her visit to Atlanta included a stop at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, where she spoke with Black small business owners about increasing wealth and ways, they are working to support one another. She toured the facility with Georgia's senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and Rep. Nikema Williams, who also acts as the state party chair.

The vice president also sat down with Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings of the business and finance podcast Earn Your Leisure.

In the discussion Harris raised the issue of highways that cut through Black communities, which she said the administration says its working to reconnect. One such project in Atlanta is receiving $158 million from the Biden administration.

She also slapped back at conservatives' attacks on diversity equity and inclusion initiatives, telling the audience, "We understand that you can’t truly invest in the strength of our nation, if you do not pay attention to diversity, equity and inclusion."

Harris has done events on the economy in underserved communities in the past. Georgia marks the start of an economic opportunity tour that will take her to Michigan next week. A previous tour that Harris embarked on in battleground states aimed to increase support for reproductive rights.

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