Statement Analysis®

How much respect does Joe Biden have for Kamala Harris?

On August 12, 2020, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden introduced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for the November Presidential election. In his speech, Biden said he came to know Harris through his late son Beau Biden. Beau and Harris were friends as they both served as Attorney General for different states.

As I listened to his speech, something caught my ear. I went to CSPAN's website to get a transcript of what Biden had said. In talking about Harris, Biden made the following comment according to CSPAN.

"I know how much Beau respected Kamala and her work. That meant a lot to me as I made this decision."

As I read that portion of his speech, I thought to myself, "That is not what I heard." So, I had to find a video of his speech. Here is what Joe Biden actually said.

"I know how much Beau respected Kamala and her work. That meant mattered a lot to me to be honest with you as I made this decision."

Substituting "meant" for "mattered" is not a big deal but a quote is supposed to be a quote. Leaving out the words "to be honest with you" is a big deal. That's because the use of the word "honest" indicates untruthfulness about 50% of the time. I say 50% because some people have a habit of using this word and other words like it. Also, if the subject senses the interviewer does not believe him, this may cause the subject to use one of these words and phrases that indicate untruthfulness.

In Biden's case, he didn't need to use the phrase "to be honest with you." The sentence sounds more sincere and stronger without it; "That mattered a lot to me as I made this decision." So why did Biden add that phrase? In the Democratic debates, Harris was harsh on Biden as they competed for the nomination. Because of that, some people were probably surprised Biden picked Harris as his running mate. Maybe that is why he said, "to be honest with you." Biden may have had some ill feelings towards Harris but his son's respect for her changed his mind. Then again, Biden may have said, "to be honest with you" because Beau's respect for Harris didn't matter to Joe Biden.

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