The Miami Herald published a story last week defending Sen. Kamala Harris against what it claimed was “racism and sexism” from her detractors following her performance at the vice presidential debate.
African American pastor from Ohio and outspoken conservative Darrell C. Scott, one of the targets of the paper, had characterized the California senator as being “Hillary Clinton in blackface” over her appearance in the debate with Vice President Mike Pence.
Scott made the comparison between Harris and Clinton and said that “BlackHillary” was trending on Twitter, during an appearance Thursday on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle.
As the Herald noted, Scott was hardly alone in giving a harsh assessment of Harris following her participation in the debate. Actor James Wood tweeted, “Mike Pence was a gentleman, forthright and focused. He delivered his plan for America brilliantly.”
He added: “Kamala Harris behaved like a ‘Valley Girl,’ smirking and rolling her eyes like a petulant brat, dodging every question she was asked.
Final takeaway: Mike Pence was a gentleman, forthright and focused. He delivered his plan for America brilliantly. Kamala Harris behaved like a “Valley Girl,” smirking and rolling her eyes like a petulant brat, dodging every question she was asked.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 8, 2020
Scott doubled down on his characterization of Harris in a tweet on Monday:
What Kamala “Black Hillary”Harris and the other Dems refuse to acknowlede is that Presidential terms begin and end in January, not in November.
— Dr.Darrell Scott (@PastorDScott) October 12, 2020
According to GOP pollster Frank Luntz, many Americans agreed that Harris had a poor performance, though they didn’t use such controversial language.
“The complaint about Kamala Harris was that she was abrasive and condescending,” Luntz told Fox News regarding how his focus group reacted to the debate.
“The complaint about Mike Pence was that he was too tired, but [he was] vice-presidential, or presidential,” he went on, insisting that “if this is a battle over style and substance — which is often the case with undecided voters because they simply do not choose on a policy, they also choose a persona — this was Mike Pence’s night.”
Although the focus group felt Pence had his shortcomings, the viewers “were more agitated with Kamala’s presentation than they were with Mike Pence,” Luntz explained.
One thing that they strongly reacted to negatively was Harris’ facial expressions, which many considered “condescending.”
Luntz wrote “My undecided voters think Mike Pence is more professional, but that he looks tired. They think Kamala Harris is more passionate, but her reaction-faces are really bothering people.”
He added in a later tweet: “I might get #cancelled for this, but my undecided focus group doesn’t like how Kamala Harris interacts with her opponent. We saw this in the Dem debates – she is applauded for her knowledge, but they just don’t like her ‘condescending reactions.’ #VPDebate.”
Asked to describe Pence in one word, members of Luntz’s focus group used words like “robot, presidential, even-keeled, bland, regressive, professional, pathetic, calm, typical politician, comfortable, no emotion.”
Asked to describe Kamala Harris in one word, members of Luntz’s focus group used words such as “evasive, nervous, shifting blame, caring, snarky, too rehearsed, nervous, evasive, abrasive, unsteady, rigid, unpresidential.”
Indeed, although the Miami Herald‘s did its best to run defense for Harris, even the paper had to acknowledge that both Harris and Clinton have had a tough time connecting with voters, reporting that “Clinton was widely disliked” by voters and that “Harris faces similar challenges” as Nov. 3 draws closer.