Speed Reads

2020 Campaign

Kamala Harris occasionally struggles with 'performance anxiety,' current and former aides say

Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-Calif.) fall in the early stages of the Democratic presidential race may be self-created, Politico reports.

One of her issues has been what several current and former aides described to Politico as a "kind of performance anxiety that washes over in her tense times." That's led to struggles in big moments, such as when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) attacked Harris' record as a prosecutor during the second Democratic primary debate. Harris appeared indecisive in her response to the criticism, and Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of the Daily Kos, points to the exchange at the moment Harris' campaign began its downward trend. "Why wouldn't you take that head-on in a prime-time audience?" Moulitsas told Politico.

The aides say Harris can sometimes have trouble listening to questions and comments — at least three times since beginning her campaign, the senator has said she misheard a question, Politico notes. Most notably, she said she didn't hear a man call President Trump's agenda "mentally retarded" even though video shows her laughing right after he said it. Harris apologized after the video was played back to her, calling it "upsetting."

She also reportedly can be overeager in attempts to please her questioners and will sometimes revert to "comfortable scripts in her head" because she's afraid she'll flub an answer. Of course, this is far from the only reason — internal and external — that Harris' campaign has sputtered recently, although many of her advisers still believe that there's still time to get back on track. Read more at Politico.