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Biden to Harris: 'Go Easy on Me, Kid'

Ex-VP targeted on night 2 of Dem debates
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2019 9:19 PM CDT
Ten White House hopefuls participate in the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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(Newser) – As the front-runner, Joe Biden knew he would be a target in the second night of Democratic debates in Detroit—and he tried to joke about it with Sen. Kamala Harris during introductions. "Go easy on me, kid," he quipped to the 54-year-old in a remark critics saw as condescending. Biden and Harris, who clashed over Biden's record on racial issue the last time they debated, later had an exchange over health care, with Biden telling Harris her plan would force middle-class taxes to go up, the AP reports. "The cost of doing nothing is far too expensive," said Harris, telling Biden: "Your plan does not cover everyone in America." She said his plan would exclude around 10 million Americans. More:

  • Julian Castro also clashed with Biden after the former HUD secretary spoke about decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, the Washington Post reports. "It looks like one of us has learned the lesson of the past and one of us hasn’t," Castro told his fellow Obama administration veteran after Biden said he hadn't heard him speak about the issue while in government.

  • Biden later attacked Harris' record as attorney general of California, noting that California has two of the most segregated school districts in the country, reports Politico. "I didn’t see a single solitary time she brought a case against them to desegregate," Biden said.
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also attack Harris' record as a prosecutor, accusing her of locking people up for low-level drug offenses and blocking evidence that could have freed a man on death row, the Hill reports. "When you were in a position to impact these people’s lives you did not and worse yet in the case of those on death row, innocent people, you actually blocked evidence that would have freed them, until you were forced to do that, and the people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology," Gabbard said.
  • The former vice president also clashed with Sen. Cory Booker, who targeted his record on criminal justice. Biden attempted to turn the tables by bringing up Booker's record as mayor of Newark. "If you want to compare records, and frankly I'm shocked that you do, I am happy to do that," Booker told him, adding: "There's a saying in my community, you're dipping into Kool-Aid and you don't even know the flavor."
  • Booker also called out Biden for regularly bringing up his association with President Obama while also trying to distance himself from some administration policies. "You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign," he said. "You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not."
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has made climate change his signature issue, said Biden's plan was "just too late," the Post reports. "We cannot work this out. The time is up. Our house is on fire,” Inslee said. "Get off coal and save this country and this plane."
  • Harris again brought up Biden's remarks about having worked with segregationists in his early years in the Senate. "Let’s be clear about this, had those segregationists their way, I would not be in the United States Senate," she said.
  • On women's issues, Biden was targeted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who brought up an op-ed he had written about women working outside the home possibly damaging family units. He said he had written it a long time ago and told Gillibrand she had worked with him on women's issues in the past. "I don't know what's happened, except that you're now running for president," he said.
  • Biden ended the night with a gaffe, the Guardian reports. While other candidates mentioned their websites in their closing statements, Biden said: "If you agree with me go to Joe 30330" when he apparently meant to say "Text Joe to 30330."
(Read more Democratic debate stories.)

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