"Now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces," Obama said of Harris

By Sean Neumann
August 12, 2020 01:38 PM
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From left: former President Barack Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris
Thomas Imo/Photothek/Getty; Alexander Tamargo/Getty

Former President Barack Obama gave his approval for his former Vice President Joe Biden's vice presidential pick on Tuesday.

In a statement, the two-term Democratic president said he and former First Lady Michelle Obama "couldn't be more thrilled" about Kamala Harris being named as Biden's running mate.

President Obama added that he thinks Biden "nailed this" decision.

"By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character," Obama, 59, said. "Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president. They’re requirements of the job. And now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and in the years ahead."

From left: Sen. Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama
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Harris, 55, was announced as Biden's choice to join the Democratic ticket on Tuesday afternoon after months of mounting speculation.

The Biden-Harris campaign will now run against President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Nov. 3 election.

Trump posted an attack ad on Harris soon after Biden's announcement on Tuesday. The ad labeled Harris as "radical," a familiar criticism Trump has used to describe Democrats. Later Tuesday he told reporters that, during the Democratic primary campaign, Harris had been "disrespectful" and "nasty" to Biden.

In late July, however, he said that Harris "would be a fine choice" by the former vice president.

Obama agreed.

"I’ve known Senator Harris for a long time," he said. "She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake."

The former president added: "Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in: a story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love, there’s a place for you here. It’s a fundamentally American perspective, one that’s led us out of the hardest times before. And it’s a perspective we can all rally behind right now."

Harris will become the first Black woman and the first Asian-American to join either major political party's presidential ticket.

Harris was named one of PEOPLE's Women Changing the World in 2019 along with Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, all three of whom were leading a historic number of female presidential candidates.

“I think it’s really important for America to just have further evidence of the breadth and depth of what women are and what we can do," Harris told PEOPLE last year.

“Each woman who breaks a barrier and expands the minds of people in terms of what’s possible and what that looks like, they do our country a great service,” Harris said then. “I certainly do think about it that way.”