As Matt covered earlier, it seems that former Vice President Joe Biden's camp is a little panicked over Thursday's debate appearance. Now, it seems there is a little more substance to back up those claims. Speaking to Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago on Friday, Biden defended his records on civil rights while blaming the short debate speech time as the reason for any confusion or doubt about his commitment to racial justice. His comments were prompted by criticism from Democratic opponent Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) that he supported busing policies which negatively impacted minorities. Then, shortly after his speech on Friday, his campaign team sent out an email to supporters so that he could "say something about the debate last night" and justify his policy stances.
According to the Boston Globe, 2020 presidential candidate Biden addressed worries that last night's performance against Sen. Harris was nothing to be concerned about in terms of his stance on civil rights issues. Sen. Harris slammed the Vice President for supporting busing in the early 70s as a young senator, but Biden insisted that was not the case.
"I heard, and I listened to, and I respect Sen. Harris," Biden said speaking on Friday. "But we all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can’t do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights."
During the speech before Rev. Jackson's group, he doubled-down on post debate comments that at the time he was not opposed to busing, but against federally mandated busing. However, numerous examples seem to show that Biden was indeed against busing.
Biden's remarks on busing in the 1970s were generally very unequivocal -- "I oppose busing. It's an asinine concept." "A bankrupt concept." "Busing does not work." He expressed pride for making anti-busing sentiment "respectable" among liberals.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 28, 2019
Biden continued with these claims in an email to his supporters. White House columnist for The Hill, Niall Stanage, points out that this defense indicates how seriously his campaign team believes the 2020 hopeful botched his debate against Sen. Harris on this topic.
Woah, Biden just out with an email to supporters trying to row back from the debate mess.— Niall Stanage (@NiallStanage) June 28, 2019
The problem is, this kind of email also shines a light on how big the screw-up was, and how worried the campaign is about it. pic.twitter.com/BHx6qossTF