Notes on a Wordle: Kamala Harris describes love for online word game


Kamala Harris plays Wordle as a “brain cleanser” between official duties and has never failed to guess the five-letter word of the day, but cannot share successes with friends because her official phone does not let her send text messages.

The vice-president discussed her love for the online game designed by Welsh-born Josh Wardle in an interview with the Ringer.

“I have 100%,” she said, “and I intend to keep it that way.”

She also said her winning streak was just 48, because “it got messed up when it got moved over to the New York Times”.

Wardle designed Wordle for his partner. The Times bought it in January for a price “in the low seven figures”.

Players of Wordle are given six chances to guess one five-letter word a day, coloured squares indicating letters in the right slot or contained in the word elsewhere.

Harris said she averaged four guesses and started with the same word every day: “Notes. N-O-T-E-S.”

She added: “I think that you have to have a healthy mix of consonants and vowels, and a lot of words come with an S. For example, today there was an S and an E, I believe.”

Harris was speaking on Friday, when the word of the day was “shame”.

The vice-president said she sometimes played while traveling, and “must have played it when I was in Poland”.

Harris visited Poland in March, to bolster US allies amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“But we won’t talk about that, right?” she said.

Wordle, Harris said, “is like a brain cleanser. So it’s in the middle of very long days, back-to-back meetings on a lot of intense issues. If I have a break, let’s say that people are running late or my little 25 minutes for lunch, sometimes while I’m eating I’ll figure out Wordle.”

She also said she had tried to convert her staff – a body subject to perennial reports of drama and discontents – to the game.

“Some of them know it,” she said. “Some of them laugh about it, because they didn’t know that I know it and that I play it. So that was really funny. And then there are others that I have, you know, in a moment of stress said, ‘Maybe you should learn how to play Wordle.’”

Harris also said her staff were very competitive over the game, but “what I love about my team is that they don’t tell on each other”.

The vice-president, however, does not compete with anyone other than her husband, Doug Emhoff, because she cannot share her results like a normal user.

“My phone doesn’t let me text anybody,” Harris said, “which is sad.”

Harris praised the “smart design” of the game, which she said offered her “just a nice kind of cleansing the palate in the middle of a lot of other stuff”.

Asked if she had any examples of stressful moments in which Wordle came to the rescue, Harris said: “They’re all classified. Sorry.”