Former Vice President Joe Biden is quickly learning that being the early front runner in a crowded Democrat primary isn't always the best position.
As Democrats prepare for their first debates next week, they're going after Biden and scrutinizing his record.
Last night, Biden lamented "incivility" in politics by invoking the names of two former Senators. He used to work with them and they were...segregationists.
Former Vice President Joe Biden pointed Tuesday evening to two segregationist senators as examples of colleagues he could work with during an era where "at least there was some civility" in the Senate.
During a fundraising event in New York, the Democratic presidential candidate recounted being a member of the Senate in the 1970s with southern Democrats who opposed civil rights and desegregation. He specifically named Mississippi Sen. James Eastland and Georgia Sen. Herman Talmadge, who Biden called "one of the meanest guys I ever knew."
"I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son,'" Biden told donors.
"Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done," Biden said. "We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished."
Taking notice, Senator Cory Booker released a statement condemning Biden and said he's surprised he hasn't apologized.
"You don't joke about calling black men 'boys.' Men like James O. Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity," Booker said. "Vice President Biden's relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone. I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together."
"And frankly, I'm disappointed that he hasn't issued an immediate apology for the paid his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should," he continued.
This marks the first time Booker has publicly gone after a primary opponent.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member