President Biden, VP Harris back Karen Bass in LA mayoral race, prompting response from Rick Caruso

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022 8:37PM
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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris endorsed Rep. Karen Bass in her campaign for mayor of Los Angeles. The endorsement prompted a response from Bass' rival in the race, businessman Rick Caruso.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The run-off in the Los Angeles mayor's race is between two Democrats, but it's no surprise the biggest names in the Democratic party are supporting Rep. Karen Bass over developer Rick Caruso, who has been a registered democrat for less than a year.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris endorsed Bass. Caruso said he did not believe it would have a major impact on the race.

"There's a club that sticks together and that's fine," said Caruso. "I think the issue is this: There's no endorsement that can hide or cover up the fact that she's failed as a leader," Caruso said, referring to his opponent in the race.

In a statement, Bass said that if elected, she's excited to partner with the Biden administration to move L.A. forward.

President Biden and Vice President Harris said they're "eager to continue to partner with her on innovative strategies to reduce homelessness and increase public safety and prosperity. Karen Bass has our friendship, and she has earned our respect through her leadership in congress on crime prevention strategies, effective and fair policing, and the welfare of children and families."

On Tuesday, Caruso visited the Museum of Tolerance, meeting with Jewish leaders to discuss his plan to combat the rise in hate crimes, specifically in Jewish and Asian communities.

"We unfortunately live in times where hate, anti-Semitism is everywhere and we've got to do something about it, so thank you," Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Caruso.

Caruso responded: "We will break that cycle. I will work hard to do it."

The meeting was not an endorsement event, and some of the city's Jewish leaders recently met with Bass as well.

Caruso says problems like the rise in hate crimes have continued to grow under the political establishment and he believes L.A. voters want someone new.

"My biggest fear is we're coming into a culture where somehow we're going to tolerate it. And, we can't tolerate it," Caruso said. "We have to really take a strong position where we have to accept everybody."

Early voting in the L.A. mayoral race begins in less than three months and voters still haven't seen Caruso's plan for housing and climate. Caruso said he'll release his agenda on those items soon.