Deputy President Kamala Harris hears a simple message from advisers amid deep scrutiny and a gossip campaign that is dragging President Joe Biden: Stay focused on your job.
For months Harris have been plagued by speculation about his future - in the West Wing and in the general Democratic Alliance - as his approval dropped to 28 percent in the recent USA Today / Suffolk University elections, below 38 percent of Biden.
By now, the vice president's knock has become commonplace: He stumbled upon an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News at the end of his first foreign tour in June, had trouble managing staff and, depending on the critic, may have been sidelined. or frustrated with his portfolio.
These are not the mistakes of his predecessors, including two vice presidents who shot other Americans while in office - Aaron Burr and Dick Cheney - or Spiro Agnew, who had to resign after being convicted of taking over as governor of Maryland.
But the numbers have grown to Harris because most Democrats do not believe Biden when he says he is running for a second term. That has tarnished the image among the most loyal camp for each candidate, according to nearly a dozen Democratic Alliance officials who spoke to NBC News on the topic.
VP Kamala Harris under the microscope
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"Focus on your job and you will live," Donna Brazile, who was in charge of the then Vice President's campaign Al Gore in 2000, told Harris's aides. "At the end of the day, the American people will not judge the vice president or the president in the first round of the game."
Harris' message was echoed by some advisers who spoke to NBC News about the nature of the disclosure.
In the meantime, that means a trip to Columbus, Ohio, this week to promote Biden's recently signed infrastructure law and a series of media interviews about the measure. During a disagreement between his assistants and his own, Biden commended Harris at the building signing ceremony and commended him for his work at the White House. Earlier this month, he sent her to Paris to resolve France's frustration over a nuclear submission of an agreement with Australia.
Harris's aides, fearing to escalate the split in the White House, declined to comment on a record of a dispute between their boss and a senior manager.
But as criticism of Harris has become commonplace, obstacles to the presidency have long been established. It is a political box that prevents Harris from formulating policy, selecting his own posts or openly campaigning for a top job.
What is different about Harris' status is that he may be running for the first time as president as he has won second place - and a natural tension between the incumbent presidential team and the incumbent has sparked a rift in his first year. office.
"What I do not fully understand is what is coming from inside the White House, the holes he is taking," said Elaine Kamarck, a former White House official in the administration of President Bill Clinton and Gore's campaign aide.
"There are only two possible explanations," said Kamarck, an executive at Brookings Institution, a left-wing think tank. "Also, within the White House, there are groups that think of other candidates and would like to see him lose power. Another possibility is that there is some kind of personal accountability driven by a particular person or party because of a decision or influence they have."
Biden's camp has long since collapsed over Harris. While examining the prospects for his ticket in the summer of 2020, some of his assistants told reporters that he felt burned by Harris for attacking him for riding in race-based schools during the 2019 elementary debate. For that reason, they suggested that it was impossible, and wrong, to choose him.
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, who has acted similarly in the Biden campaign, did not respond to a voice message left by NBC News.
Biden has never publicly sold any of the ongoing hostility toward that astonishing time.
While insisting he will run for a second term, many Democrats are not sure he will get it. Biden will be 86 years old when the next term of office comes to an end. Harris' allies said it was too early for anyone, at least for the Biden vice-president to take over.
"There is always a game in this village about who will run in the next election. 'Will the vice president run?' We played that game for eight years under Obama, "said Karen Finney, a Democratic Alliance strategist close to Harris. "Trying to learn the leaves of tea and learn the future at this moment is not constructive because there is so much time and so much more that needs to be accomplished."
And yet the lines of error that are breaking within the Democratic Party, as well as within the current administration, are easily seen.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg has made a name for himself, and his political career is ready to be ruled out if he wants to run for re-election, according to an official who worked on his 2020 campaign.
"He still has his PAC ... the sponsors are still there," the official said. "Her biggest challenge right now is to reach out to more color communities and, strangely enough, the other person on the list is the female president of color."
Buttigieg has been a problem for Harris fans since the White House quickly defended him when he was recently attacked by security guards by taking family leave to care for newly adopted twins. Her son, Gus, had been in the hospital.