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WaPo edits 2019 profile of Kamala Harris, removes joke she made about prisoner begging for water

"We should have kept both versions of the story on the Post's site," newspaper later admits.

Published: January 22, 2021 2:43pm

Updated: January 22, 2021 3:18pm

The Washington Post earlier this month quietly edited a 2019 profile of now-Vice President Kamala Harris, removing an anecdote Harris shared at the time in which she compared campaigning to being in prison and made a joke about a prisoner begging for food and water. 

In the original story, the Post described a scene in which Harris was telling her sister, Maya, that political campaigns are "like prisons," according to the paper.

Reflecting positively on several instances of downtime she eked out during her eventually-failed presidential campaign, Harris compared those moments to "a treat that a prisoner gets when they ask for, 'A morsel of food please'."

"And water!" she continued in her imitation of the prisoner. "I just want wahtahhh..."

In a version of the story re-published on Jan. 11, however, that anecdote had been removed without any explanation and without any link to the original story.

Pressed by the libertarian publication Reason on the stealth-edit, paper spokeswoman Kris Coratti responded:  "We should have kept both versions of the story on the Post's site (the original and updated one), rather than redirecting to the updated version. We have now done that, and you will see the link to the original at the top of the updated version."

Explaining the reason behind the removal of Harris's starving prisoner joke, another paper spokeswoman told Reason that the Post "repurposed and updated some of our strong biographical pieces" on both Harris and Biden prior to their inauguration earlier this week.

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