Some Say It Was a 'Low Blow.' Harris Calls It 'Truth'

Senator addresses criticism against her taking on Joe Biden at Democratic debate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2019 1:28 PM CDT
Harris on Biden Confrontation: It Was About 'Speaking Truth'
Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., far right, spar during the Democratic primary debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday in Miami. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is in the center.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

In Thursday night's Democratic debate, one interaction above all caused a hush in the audience: an emotional moment between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, when the former took the latter on for his recent doubling down on working with segregationist senators in the past, as well as his remarks decades ago on anti-segregation busing. Harris looked a visibly uncomfortable Biden in the eye—the New York Times describes him gripping his podium like a "flotation device"—and told him she was hurt by those remarks, as she herself had been bused as a child, though she added she didn't believe he was racist. Biden immediately shot back and defended his civil rights record, adding he wasn't anti-busing, but anti-busing if it had been ordered by the Department of Education. After the debate, Biden's camp was reportedly miffed, and Harris had the chance to address that Friday on CBS This Morning.

"You're being accused of delivering a low blow last night. What do you say to that?" Gayle King asked Harris. "It was about just speaking truth," Harris replied, via Mediaite. "As I've said many times, I have a great deal of respect for Joe Biden. He has served our country over many years in a noble way. But he and I disagree on that. It is a debate. This is a campaign where we should be discussing issues, and there will be contrasts." She added, per CBS News, that her point "was to really just make sure that in this conversation we are appreciating the impact on real people of policies that have been pushed in the history of our country." Meanwhile, CNN reporter Daniel Dale calls Biden's assertions in the debate a "flagrant misrepresentation" of his stance on busing in the '70s and '80s, laying out the reasons why. (Read more Kamala Harris stories.)

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