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Kamala Harris tries to turbocharge her campaign but faces lingering questions

10 July 2019

Marguerite Willis, a recent Democratic candidate for governor, said when Harris spoke in the debate about her own experiences being bussed as a child, the entire room grew quiet.

"It was the honor of my lifetime to serve with a man who I believe was a great president, a historic figure, and most important to me ― a close friend", Biden said. "There is still a point of disagreement between he and I, and that remains ... which is the issue of busing".

"We can not rewrite history about what segregationists were doing at that time on a number of issues", she added.

Biden's comments came as he and rival presidential candidate Kamala Harris were set to circle each other while campaigning Sunday in SC, the first Southern state to vote in next year's primary and a crucial proving ground for candidates seeking support of black Democrats. As an activist, I need a candidate who inspires more people to fight today. Biden, despite talking about health care on the trail, has yet to roll out a formal plan, but a number of his Democratic opponents in 2020, like Vermont Sen.

"I don't think they're relevant", Biden answered, "because they were taken out of context. That was not my intention", Biden said Sunday, echoing his remarks to a predominantly African-American crowd in Sumter a day earlier when he said he was "sorry for the pain and misconception I may have caused".

The former Vice President told reporters in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday that he chose to apologize Saturday because it was "the first opportunity" he had to do it in a "fulsome" way in front of the Palmetto state audience who "would have been the most likely to be offended by anything that was said".

She was due to move on to SC, where she and Biden could expect to be pressed on their tense debate exchange.

That weekend, Biden appeared in an interview with MSNBC'S Rev. Al Sharpton following the convention.

Biden's apology and defense of his record comes after Harris confronted Biden at the first Democratic debate, pushing him on whether he was wrong to oppose desegregation busing.

Biden also addressed his performance during the first Democratic debate, saying that he wasn't prepared for California Sen.

He said he was more opposed to federal intervention in busing than the practice itself.

During Thursday night's presidential debate, Harris criticized Biden for recently highlighting his decades-old work with segregationist senators and his opposition to busing school pupils during the 1970s, creating a dramatic and deeply personal breakout moment.

Harris recently received a bump in national polls after her clash with former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate last week. When excerpts of his speech were released on Saturday, Harris spokesperson Ian Sams tweeted that "every candidate's record will (and should) be scrutinized in this race", adding, "It's a competition to become President of the United States. There are no free passes".

The criticism of Biden began last month after he recalled how, as a young senator from DE, he worked on some issues with two Southern Democratic segregationists in the U.S. Senate even though they agreed on little, offering that period as an example of a long-ago time of civility and himself as a consensus-seeker.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, another 2020 candidate, has also offered forceful criticism, telling ABC's "This Week" that Biden had not fully grasped the impact his comments on the African-American community. Herman Talmadge (D-GA) as an example of political civility - a man whom Biden described as being "one of the meanest guys I ever knew".

"I'm sorry we had to go through all this, I'm sorry at one point he tried to shift blame to me".

Kamala Harris tries to turbocharge her campaign but faces lingering questions