It was early in Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s vice-presidential search when he asked his advisers a sensitive question about Senator Kamala Harris. He kept hearing so much private criticism of her from other California Democrats, he wanted to know: Is she simply unpopular in her home state?
Advisers assured Mr.
Biden that was not the case: Ms. Harris had her share of Democratic rivals and detractors in the factional world of California politics, but among regular voters her standing was solid.
Mr. Biden’s query, and the quiet.