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The quiet observer was Kamala Harris, the woman whom many now think is an odds-on favorite to be President of the United States.But on this night, she was a political rookie, barely a year into her first term as San Francisco district attorney: focused, reserved, undistracted, emotions in check. Back then, early in her political career, she often seemed low-key.But her parents split when Kamala was seven, causing a sense of dislocation and sadness, friends say.She and her younger sister, Maya, shuttled from Oakland to their dad’s house in a mostly white Peninsula neighborhood, where kids wouldn’t play with the black Harris girls. Who wouldn’t want to know how to change that world?I’d say we’re friends (at least until she reads this story), but she remains enigmatic to me. Her extended family and friends, for the most part, clam up about her.While a source in her office says she has not been doing many journalistic interviews — despite requests ranging from Vanity Fair to “The View” — she agreed to two 30-minute phone interviews with me for this story because she knows me and knows she can use this magazine to speak to California.But privately, always privately, she may have had other ideas. At 5-to-1 odds, she leaves in her dust Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Joe Biden and The Rock. Booker, the New Jersey senator, gets absolutely giddy when he talks about Harris.
He said in the documents that he wants to become Roan Joseph Bronstein Stone to “take the surname of each of my parents.” The actress, 61, and ex-husband Phil Bronstein adopted Roan, now 19, in 2000. Stone was most recently linked to 41-year-old Angelo Boffa.
Recently, a Business Insider story referred to her as “an establishment centrist” Democrat.
Meantime, California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte describes Harris as “an ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat.” But Brulte is also a political pro who can express grudging admiration, and he praises her toughness and drive in her campaigns for attorney general and the Senate. It’s as if she was born to take on these existential quandaries.
Her mother, Shyamala, with whom she was deeply close, traded her family’s upper-caste privilege to come to Berkeley at 19, studied for her doctorate in endocrinology and nutrition and joined the surging civil rights movement.
Donald Harris, Kamala’s Jamaican-born father, met Shyamala during the heady turmoil of the 1960s.