Joe Biden says that he wasn't prepared for Kamala Harris' criticism on segregation and busing
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris campaigned in West Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday. She criticized President Donald Trump's planned Fourth of July celebration and discussed topics including healthcare and busing. (July 4) AP, AP
WASHINGTON – In a CNN interview that aired Friday morning, former Vice President Joe Biden said he "wasn't prepared" for Sen. Kamala Harris' criticism of him over busing during the first Democratic presidential debate, though he added that his past positions were taken "out of context."
"I was prepared for them to come after me, but I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me. She knew Beau, she knows me" he said to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Harris and Beau Biden, the former vice president's late son, were both Democratic state attorneys general together. Harris served as California's attorney general from 2011 to 2017, and Beau Biden was Delaware's attorney general from 2007 to 2015. At the end of May, on the anniversary of Beau's death, Harris had tweeted a tribute to him, writing that "Beau Biden was my friend."
Harris had criticized Biden during the debate for his past opposition to school busing and comments on working with segregationist senators. Harris has since surged in the polls, though the California senator has since drawn some criticism for clarifying her own position on school busing and saying that it should just be a "tool" to address school segregation.
Biden defended his position on busing in the interview, arguing, "busing did not work." He added that the African American community of Delaware at the time, "did not support it."
"Every child out there is capable, but they're living in circumstances that make it difficult," Biden said, adding that he had a better plan for education funding and equity than other Democrats. According to Biden, the focus of the education debate should be on "how do you equalize education in every area."
Biden argued that he did not want to resurface parts of his competitors' records, saying that he had "all this information" about others' pasts, but "I am just not going to go there." Instead, Biden thought that the nation should look forward.
According to a CNN poll published after the first Democratic debate, Biden has the highest level of support among African Americans compared to the rest of the Democratic field — 36% of African American voters surveyed said they supported Biden.
His campaign announced on July 3 that it raised $21.5 million last quarter, less than South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose campaign said it raised $24.8 million last quarter.