Vice President Kamala Harris showcased a transformed and assertive figure at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans, distancing herself from the recent turmoil surrounding President Joe Biden's re-election campaign. The event, held annually, saw Harris speaking to a standing-room-only crowd, a significant contrast to her previous appearance in 2019 when she was a Democratic presidential primary contender.

Harris, donning a bright teal suit and accompanied by a sizable press contingent, delivered a speech filled with standard campaign rhetoric, highlighting the accomplishments of the Biden-Harris administration. She also issued stark warnings about the potential dangers of a second Trump term. The vice president's remarks were interwoven with themes of women's empowerment, urging the audience to embrace ambition and overcome obstacles.

"I beseech you, don't you ever hear something can't be done," Harris said. "People in your life will tell you, though, it's not your time. It's not your turn. Nobody like you has done it before. Don't you ever listen to that." She added, "I like to say, 'I eat no for breakfast.'"

Despite the pressing issues surrounding President Biden's fitness for office, Harris strategically avoided the topic, focusing instead on her message of empowerment and the administration's achievements. The Essence Festival provided a platform for Harris to reintroduce herself to a supportive audience, emphasizing her work as a prosecutor and her efforts to combat the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Harris's poll numbers have seen an improvement, and her public speeches have become more confident and assertive. She has been actively addressing issues such as reproductive rights, maternal mortality, economic opportunity, and inclusion. At the Essence Festival, Harris described the upcoming election as the most crucial in a lifetime, asserting that democracy might not survive another Trump term.

The vice president highlighted the administration's efforts to address various issues affecting Americans, including capping insulin prices for Medicare enrollees, expanding access to public health insurance for women post-childbirth, and forgiving billions in student loan debt. When Harris asked how many in the audience had benefited from student debt forgiveness, hundreds of hands went up.

"You got that because you voted in 2020," Harris reminded the crowd.

Harris also emphasized the need to reduce childcare costs and addressed the administration's plans to exclude medical debt from credit score calculations, which would help many Americans struggling to rent apartments or buy cars.

Leshelle Henderson, a nurse practitioner from Cleveland, attended the event hoping to hear about student loan forgiveness. "I liked what I heard," Henderson said. "I did, but I want to hear more. Honestly, I think what we heard tonight is the next president of the United States. Isn't that something?"

President Biden's future remains a hot topic, but Harris's Essence Fest appearance didn't center on him. Just 24 hours after Biden's underwhelming ABC interview, Harris mentioned her boss only once during her half-hour Q&A with Essence Ventures CEO Caroline Wanga. Instead, Harris focused on rallying voters and outlining the administration's plans for a potential next term.

Despite calls from some Democratic lawmakers for Biden to step aside, Harris has remained steadfast in her support for the president. She has emphasized the significance of the upcoming election and the administration's commitment to addressing the needs of the American people.

Earlier in the day, a panel featuring members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), expressed support for Biden. "There ain't gonna be no other Democratic candidate," Waters declared. "It's gonna be Biden and you better know."

However, some Democrats believe Harris might have a better shot at winning in November. A post-debate CNN poll showed Harris neck-and-neck with Trump, a fact that has raised concerns within the Biden camp.