Saturday, March 6, 2021

VP-Elect Kamala Harris and Husband Doug Imhoff Talk Politics, Family & More on CBS Sunday Morning / WATCH

Doug Imhoff & Kamala Harris (Photo: CBS News)
Doug Imhoff & Kamala Harris (Photo: CBS News)

*Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff sat down with CBS News’ Jane Pauley Tuesday in Washington, D.C., for their first joint television interview since the election. Pauley’s extended interview with Harris and Emhoff for CBS SUNDAY MORNING was broadcast today Sunday, Jan. 17 on the CBS Television Network.

A rush transcript of the report is below:

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  I was raised to not hear “no.” Let me be clear about it. So it wasn’t like, “Oh, the possibilities are immense. Whatever you want to do, you can do.” No, I was raised to understand many people will tell you “It is impossible,” but don’t listen. I mentor a lotta people, and I tell them that there will be people who will say, “It’s not your turn, it’s not your time. No one like you has done it.” And I’ll tell them, “And don’t you listen.” And then I will go on to tell them, “I eat no for breakfast.” (LAUGH)

NARRATION: There have been 48 vice-presidents in the history of the United States—all of them men. Until now.  In three days, Kamala Harris will become the first woman to be vice-president.  Also the first Black vice-president…and the first of South Asian ancestry.

JANE PAULEY:  Are you excited about January 20th?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: I’m not gonna let anyone take my excitement from me.

NARRATION: But she and President-elect Joe Biden come into office during some of the most troubled times our nation has ever faced.  The pandemic…an economic crisis…and division made violently clear in the takeover of the Capitol on January 6th. Biden and Harris will be sworn in surrounded by unprecedented security.

JANE PAULEY: What are you anticipating on January 20th when as a news person, I’m already seeing split-screen coverage of the 50 state Capitol domes where reports are that extremists are planning to be back here in D.C. This is gonna be an inaugural like–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  This will be an inaugural like no other, in large part because of COVID. But we are gonna get sworn in. And we’re gonna do the job we were hired to do. And that means focusing, for example, on getting people vaccinated. We want to get 100 million done in the first 100 days. It’s gonna be very tough to do it. We’re gonna reopen the schools in a safe way. We have to get to the job of healing America.

VIDEO: Joe Biden: I represent all of you, whether you voted for me or against me.

NARRATION: That was a mantra for Biden and Harris.  But the challenge they face was laid bare by the attack on Congress, exactly two weeks before inauguration day.

JANE PAULEY:  January 6th was something seismic.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: Yes, it was.

JANE PAULEY: Something seismic happened. May I ask, was the TV on? Did someone say– “Madam Vice President-elect, you gotta see this? Come.” How did that unfold?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  I was at the Capitol that morning, and then I was in a meeting, and I was told that I should leave. And then I was taken to a secure location. With my husband. We watched in horror. You are absolutely right, it was seismic. It was an inflection moment. You know, sometimes we think an inflection moment is the bringing of something that is positive. No. It was in many ways a reckoning. It was an exposure of the vulnerability of our democracy.

NARRATION: In a Senate now split 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans, as Vice President, Harris will cast tie-breaking votes. A split Senate has only happened three times before.  This one comes after two Democratic Senate victories in the Georgia run-off elections, just a day before the Capitol takeover. Still, the obstacles to the incoming administration’s long to-do list are enormous.

JANE PAULEY:  How can you look at that agenda without looking at it through the veil of what we saw on January 6th? When we saw, how did Walt Kelly put it in Pogo, “We’ve seen the enemy, and it is us–”

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: Yeah, “And it is us.”

JANE PAULEY:  And it is us–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  And it is us.

JANE PAULEY:  And that is true no matter which side you are on.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  But Jane, this is not new.  It is outrageous.  And we will remember it like we have remembered some of the most significant—December 7th, we will remember, January 6th, there are certain things we are always going to remember as an attack on the foundations and the fundamental principles and ideals which we hold dear.  Yes I agree with you in that regard.  But come on. People walking around carrying the Confederate flag?  This is not a new display. We’ve seen this. We saw this over the course of the last four years, and we’ve seen it in our history and the world’s history before.

NARRATION: It might seem that Kamala Harris was born for this moment in history.  Her father, Donald Harris, a Jamaica-born economist.  Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a scientist from India.  They met at the University of California at Berkeley.  They divorced when Harris was seven, leaving her and her younger sister, Maya, to be raised primarily by their mother.

VIDEO: Kamala Harris/DNC acceptance speech: She raised us to be proud, strong Black women, and she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage.

JANE PAULEY:  She emphasized your Black identity.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: She was very deliberate about it. I mean, my mother– arrived in the United States at the age of 19, because she had a dream and a goal to end cancer. She wanted to be a scientist. And automatically, in the midst of those turbulent times– became very attracted to the Civil Rights movement. She was very active in the Civil Rights movement in the ’60s and beyond. And she was acutely aware that she was raising her two daughters in an America where we would very likely be treated and approached based on our race and our gender. And so my mother raised her two daughters to be very proud, Black women.

VIDEO: Kamala Harris from Democratic debate: Growing up my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn’t play with us because we were black.

NARRATION: Harris was bussed to integrated schools in Berkeley.

VIDEO: Harris from debate with Biden: 6/27/19
There was a little girl in California, who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools.  And she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

NARRATION: She later attended Howard, a historically Black university…earned a law degree at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, and set off on a path to politics.

JANE PAULEY:  You’ve been the first everything you’ve ever been– district attorney, attorney general of California, first, first, first. Now first Black woman, first Southeast Asian woman. First–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: And– and first woman.

JANE PAULEY:  First woman. (LAUGH) Okay. With belief in the power of government. And yet, as someone who prosecuted, excuse me, sex crimes, you knew those children, those teenage victims that you defended as a prosecutor– that you really couldn’t change a great deal. How much do you expect in your first four years in the Biden-Harris administration, is a generation gonna be enough?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Let me tell ya, I– at the risk of sounding– like an idealist. I used to have this debate with my mother. I’d say, “Oh, Mommy, you’re a pessimist.” And she’d say, “You’re an idealist.” And then I’d say, “No, I’m an optimist.” And she’d say, “Well, I’m a realist.”

So I exist in the spectrum between being an optimist and a realist.
I’ve seen some of the worst in human behavior, to your point. I was a career prosecutor for a large part of my career prosecuting child sexual assault cases. I’ve seen some awful stuff, and I’ve seen some beautiful great things. And so that’s where I exist. And I’m clear-eyed. Joe is certainly clear-eyed. We’ve got a big job in front of us, and it is not gonna be easy.

NARRATION: An agenda further complicated by this past week’s impeachment.  Joe Biden and his Vice-President have elected not to weigh on in the next step in that process.

JANE PAULEY:  In February, will we still be talking about Donald Trump’s presidency– through the– impeachment process?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Listen. Let me be very clear about my position on Donald Trump. I strongly believe that he is incapable of being president of the United States, that he has been incompetent. And that’s why I ran against him, and that’s why Joe ran against him. So this is not a statement about Donald Trump, but the American people deserve that in their president and vice president coming into office that we address the things that are weighing on them– and– and implement a plan. And that’s what we’re gonna do. It’s not to the exclusion of many other things that need to be addressed around accountability, but that’s our focus.

NARRATION: When Kamala Harris takes office on Wednesday, there will be yet another “first.”

JANE PAULEY:  Can I meet Doug?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: Yes. Where is my Douglas?

NARRATION: And we’ll meet the nation’s first second-gentleman

JANE PAULEY:  I don’t know. Do I call you Doug? (LAUGH) How do I address you?

DOUG EMHOFF: You can call me Doug.

JANE PAULEY:  Okay, Doug. Doug.

But of course he isn’t just “Doug.” Doug Emhoff will be making history as the first husband of a vice president.

JANE PAULEY: First gentleman– first gentleman.

DOUG EMHOFF:  Second gentleman.

JANE PAULEY: The s– (LAUGH)

DOUG EMHOFF: First second gentleman.

JANE PAULEY: Okay. I’m afraid for the first– the next (LAUGH)– week or month or year of your life, you’re going to be doing something like you just had to do with me.

DOUG EMHOFF:  Yeah, it’s all good.

NARRATION: So “second gentleman” it is.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  There was a whole conversation about — (LAUGH) mostly among his friends, whether he should just be called the first dude. (LAUGH)

JANE PAULEY: The first dude.

DOUG EMHOFF:  And other– other names that I can’t repeat on national television.

NARRATION: Harris and Emhoff met in 2013, a blind date set up by a friend of hers.

JANE PAULEY:  When you first got the friend who said, “There’s a guy–” and maybe your friends were doin’ this to you all the time. (LAUGH) But, “There’s a guy. (LAUGH) And he’s a good one. And– don’t Google him.” (LAUGH) You totally Googled him, didn’t you?

DOUG EMHOFF:  (LAUGH) Ooh. This is a reveal.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  I’ve never been asked that.

DOUG EMHOFF:  Ooh.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  I did. (LAUGH) Dougie. He–

DOUG EMHOFF:  Wow. Okay.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Oh, that’s so funny you asked me that question. So yes, my best friend set us up on a blind date. And– she said, “Just trust me. Just trust me. Just– just don’t ev–” you know, she wanted me to just kinda go into it and she said, “Don’t Google him.” (LAUGH) I did. (LAUGH)

NARRATION: She found that he was a Los Angeles lawyer.  Of course, he knew she was California Attorney General.  He made the first move.

DOUG EMHOFF:  One of my buddies was in town. And we went to a Laker game. And so, you know, we– a couple of beers, we– I s– told him the story. He s– I said, “What do you think I should text her.” So we (LAUGH) sat there in the stands– of Staples Center and came up with this text which was something, like, “Hey, it’s Doug.” (LAUGH) Awkward. I’m texting you. And she said—

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: You guys composed it together?

DOUG EMHOFF:  We did. (LAUGH) So that’s my reveal. And– she– which is funny, she said something like, “Yay, Lakers. Go Lakers.” (LAUGH) And I–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  And I’m a Warriors fan.

DOUG EMHOFF:  Biggest Warriors fan (LAUGH) out there.

NARRATION: The next morning…early…he called.

DOUG EMHOFF: So I left this ridiculous voicemail, which she has saved and plays back to me on our anniversary every year. I thought I’d never hear from her again. But?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  But it was just he– it was adorable. (LAUGH) And it was just– I mean, the thing about Doug is that he is exactly who he is. He’s just fully authentic and clear about the things he cares about. And it’s family, it’s his work.

DOUG EMHOFF:  You.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: And me. (LAUGH)

NARRATION: They married in 2014, her first. He was by her side as she was elected to the U.S. Senate…where he found out what it’s like be to a “plus 1” to a powerful politician.

DOUG EMHOFF: There were Senate spouses who welcomed me. And I went to some, you know, lunches and events–

JANE PAULEY: And plenty of misters?

DOUG EMHOFF:  Amy Klobuchar’s husband, Elizabeth Warren’s husband, who kinda g– put their, you know, arms around me (LAUGH) to show–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: Th– they’re a very–

DOUG EMHOFF: –show me the ropes.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: –few.

DOUG EMHOFF:  And–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: There’re very few husbands that are Senate spouses. They– they do find each other.

NARRATION: Emhoff plans to teach law classes at Georgetown University.  Much like the incoming first lady, Jill Biden, who plans to continue as a community college professor. 

JANE PAULEY: You strike me as a very centered person. (LAUGH) And– a calming presence.

DOUG EMHOFF: I understand the role she’s taking the role that– that Joe and– and Jill are taking on too. And become very close with them. So, like I support her, I support them. And– that’s important ’cause what they’re doing is– is so much. And they’re walking into so many different crises. The American people hired them for change and to get us outta these things. And I’m gonna do everything I can to help them.

NARRATION: And to relieve the stress of the Washington pressure-cooker, the couple hopes to keep:  cooking.

JANE PAULEY:  You’re both kitchen people. You cook.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Yeah.

DOUG EMHOFF: W– well–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Well, he’s– he–

DOUG EMHOFF: She–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: –has learned.

DOUG EMHOFF: Yeah, no, she–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  He’s a good–

DOUG EMHOFF: –she l—

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: –sous chef, except–

DOUG EMHOFF:  Now.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Yeah. Yeah.

DOUG EMHOFF:  Like, outta necessity during COVID.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  And– and COVID really.

JANE PAULEY:  Well, how much cooking will there be in your life to come?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Well, I am charting that course and making sure that we, at least for Sunday family dinner. It’s just– it’s too– too much a part of our– our family life. And that’s important to me, to keep that stability.

NARRATION: And we had to ask about that fashion choice, surely a ‘first’ for a vice-president.  The Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers:  the Chucks.

JANE PAULEY:  The footwear– I– I gotta tell you, when you walked in, I– I checked out (LAUGH) is she wearin’ ’em? (LAUGH) You’re not wearin’– (NOISE) your Chucks today.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  No.

JANE PAULEY:  What is the story?

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: It became a story. It’s just I– I’ve always worn (LAUGH) Chucks.

DOUG EMHOFF:  There’s a whole–

JANE PAULEY:  Well, what’s the–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  It’s my casual–

JANE PAULEY:  –story with the always–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: It’s my casual– it’s just my casual go-to. You know, grew up with Chucks. I just love them. They’re comfortable.

DOUG EMHOFF: I can attest. There is– several closets full of them. And– (LAUGH)

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: He’s exaggerating. (LAUGH)

DOUG EMHOFF:  But, this wasn’t just something that she started doing on the campaign. When I met her, it was je– Chucks and jeans when she met the kids. And it’s just something that–

JANE PAULEY:  What did it say to you?

DOUG EMHOFF:  She’s down to earth. People ask me all the time, like, “What’s she really like,” I said she’s shockingly normal. (LAUGH) And I think that– that is really an extension of who she really is.

NARRATION: Harris and Emhoff have blended their families together, including children Ella and Cole from his first marriage. 

VIDEO: Family Zoom call: Hi!

NARRATION: Their Sunday evening Zoom calls are a striking picture of diversity. 

Family Zoom call: Is Doug still in hair and makeup right now?  Exactly!

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  We have family in Italy. My sister-in-law married an Italian, so they live there with their two children.

DOUG EMHOFF:  India.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  India. We have an aunt and an uncle there.

Kamala Harris on family Zoom call: Over her left shoulder is our grandmother…
Canada.

DOUG EMHOFF: California.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS: Brooklyn. (LAUGH)

DOUG EMHOFF:  Brooklyn. From Brooklyn.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Oakland.

DOUG EMHOFF:  My parent– my parents, they live in the desert out in California.

NARRATION: And for the next four years, add the U-S Naval Observatory in Washington to the list, which will be home to the Vice-President and *her* family.

DOUG EMHOFF: It reflects America. That’s what it should be. It should just be about love and unity.

JANE PAULEY: Well, bless your family and stay safe–

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Thank you.

JANE PAULEY: –and well.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS:  Thank you, you–

DOUG EMHOFF:  Thank you.

CBS SUNDAY MORNING has been America’s #1 Sunday morning news program for 628 consecutive weeks. CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.

Follow CBS SUNDAY MORNING on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and CBSNews.com. Listen to CBS SUNDAY MORNING podcasts on all podcast platforms.

source: Richard Huff / CBS News

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