×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dems Debate: Joe Biden Takes Arrows From All Sides

Sen. Kamala Harris took aim at frontrunner Joe Biden over his opposition to school busing in the 1970s and his favorable statements about segregationist senators during Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

In a heated exchange, Harris said it was hurtful to hear the former vice president talk fondly about his relationships with Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge at a recent fundraiser.

“I do not praise racists,” Biden responded. “If we want to have this litigated on who supports civil rights, I’m happy to do that.”

Biden’s record, which extends back nearly 50 years, was one of the main topics of the debate. Biden defended his legislative accomplishments, his work on gun control and his support for gay marriage. But his record also provided ample targets for his opponents, both young and old.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, 38, repeatedly urged him to “pass the torch” to a younger generation. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running second in most national polls, challenged Biden over his support for the Iraq war.

“Joe voted for that war,” Sanders said. “I helped lead the opposition to that war, which is a disaster.”

The back-and-forth with Harris was the debate’s most striking moment. In returning fire, Biden noted that as a young lawyer he chose to be a public defender — not a prosecutor. Harris has faced criticism on the left over her prosecutorial record as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general.

Harris then challenged Biden to disavow his opposition to busing, to which Biden responded that he did not oppose busing — only mandates from the federal government. Harris said she was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley public schools in the 1970s, decades after the Supreme Court ordered desegregation.

“Because your city government made that decision,” Biden replied. “It was a local decision.”

“So that’s where the federal government must step in,” Harris responded.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, also found himself on the defensive, responding to a recent police shooting in his community which has led to widespread protests. He was asked why the city has not increased the percentage of black officers.

“Because I couldn’t get it done,” he answered. In the wake of the shooting, he said, “It’s a mess, and we’re hurting.”

Biden made a case for himself as a continuation of President Obama’s legacy, repeatedly invoking Obama’s name. He also recounted his own tragic family history in support of his pledge to seek universal healthcare.

“The quickest, fastest way to do it is build on Obamacare, to build on what we did,” Biden said. “I am against any Democrat who opposes Obamacare, and any Republican who opposes Obamacare.”

The candidates were asked if their health care plans would cover illegal immigration. Each candidate raised his or her hand.

The debate follows Wednesday’s debate among 10 other candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

RELATED  VIDEO:

More Politics

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Peter Coyote Riffs on 'Country Music' and How He Admires and Challenges Ken Burns

    Though an instantly recognizable face from films such as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “A Walk to Remember” and “Erin Brockovich,” it is Peter Coyote’s voice — a coolly authoritative baritone with a Zen master’s holy roll — that has endeared him to documentary lovers and makers. Alrhough director-writer Alex Gibney used Coyote’s wisened narration for “Enron: [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

  • President Donald Trump waves as he

    Trump Holds Fundraiser in Hollywood's Backyard

    President Trump paid a visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, as part of a West Coast fundraising swing expected to raise $15 million. Trump is set to appear at a dinner at developer Geoffrey Palmer’s house in Beverly Hills, where tickets range from $1,000 to $100,000 for VIPs. Though set in Hollywood’s backyard, the event [...]

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image Debate Ad

    ABC Runs Debate Ad Showing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image

    ABC aired an ad during Thursday’s Democratic debate that depicted a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and likened her politics to those that caused the Cambodian genocide. New Faces GOP funded the ad, which features Elizabeth Heng, a Republican who lost a bid for a Fresno-area congressional seat last year. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, [...]

  • Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris.

    ABC News' Democratic Debate Lacked Energy and Purpose

    At long last, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on the same stage. And the result was a long and fairly dull evening. After two Democratic Party debate stages in which the field of candidates had been bifurcated — splitting, in both cases, the perceived frontrunners from the establishment and insurgent [...]

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden responds

    Protesters Interrupt Joe Biden During Democratic Debate

    Protesters interrupted presidential candidate Joe Biden during Thursday’s democratic debate. The chants came nearly two and a half hours in as moderator George Stephanopoulos asked the former vice president about any professional setbacks he’s faced and how he recovered from them. “We’re going to clear the protesters,” Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.” [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren,

    Dems Debate in Houston: Moderates Push Back on Medicare for All

    The third Democratic debate on Thursday was billed as the first showdown between the top contenders: Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden did challenge the liberal senators on health care early in the debate, which was broadcast on ABC. He asked repeatedly how they would pay for their multi-trillion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content