Harris emerges as frontrunner to oust Trump as rivals circle

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California smiles as she formally launches her presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland Calif. Sunday Jan. 27 2019

One man, a pastor from Des Moines, asked Harris about her views on gun violence and gun control. While noting Harris' prior association with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Limbaugh posed the question: "What's the difference between Stormy Daniels and Kamala Harris?".

"It's a flawed system".

Speaking at Oakland's City Hall, Harris says the American Dream and American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before. Six in 10 Americans now say the country is on the "wrong track".

The daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Ms Harris said she had grown up in an East Bay community "with a deep belief in the promise of our country, and a deep understanding of the parts of that promise that still remain unfulfilled".

She was also asked early on about the rise of racism and hate crimes that coincided with Donald Trump's presidential campaign and hs thrived under his presidency. Kamala Harris is announcing the backing of Iowa Democrat Deidre DeJear as she travels to the early 2020 caucus state Monday. "This has become a political issue, and it is - there is no reason why we can not have reasonable gun-safety laws in this country", she added.

She added that she has had similar conversations with fathers and sons.

Harris also did not shy away from taking on Trump directly, saying the USA welcomes refugees and calling the wall that Trump wants to build at the southern border a "medieval vanity project" that would not actually stop transnational gangs, which she noted she battled as state attorney general.

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"I respect the Democratic Party", he said.

She talked of "foreign powers infecting the White House like malware" - a clear reference to Russian election meddling and allegations of collusion with Trump's campaign.

"Elizabeth Warren kind of got the campaign season started". Her campaign reported raising $1.5 million from roughly 38,000 donors during the first 24 hours after she announced her campaign on January 21.

The compelling Oakland speech was a show of strength by Harris and most likely a calculated shot across the bow to those still on the 2020 sidelines, notably the four Bs mulling a run: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Beto O'Rourke.

Her platform will include progressive policies including debt-free college and "Medicare for all" - allowing Americans to opt into government-run health coverage. "Senator Gillibrand from NY is another one".

Civil rights advocate Lateefah Simon responded: "(Ms Harris) became a prosecutor to give the job a perspective it had sorely lacked: "a voice for the voiceless and vulnerable. Lord knows, I am not flawless.

One prominent Californian, outspoken Congressman Ted Lieu, has already endorsed Harris, describing her as "the person we need to move America forward". But at other moments, she hints at a harder edge than the "no-drama" former president.

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