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How Biden Is Explaining That South Africa 'Arrest' Story

AP Photo/John Locher

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden walked back the “arrest” story he told three times on the campaign trail from when he was in apartheid South Africa visiting Nelson Mandela.


“When I said arrested, I meant I was not able to, I was not able to move. Cops, Afrikaners, were not letting me go with them, made me stay where I was. I guess I wasn’t arrested, I was stopped. I was not able to move where I wanted to go,” Biden told CNN in an interview.

“I turned around and everybody – all the entire black delegation was going another way,” he continued, explaining authorities led him away from the Congressional Black Caucus he was traveling with. “I said, 'I’m not going to go in that door that says "white only," I’m going with them.' They said, ‘You’re not, you can’t move, you can’t go with them.’ And they kept me there until finally I decided that it was clear I wasn’t going to move.

“And so what they finally did they said OK, they’re not going to make the congressional delegation go through the black door, they’re not going to make me go through the white door,” he continued. “They took us out – if my memory serves me – through a baggage claim area up to a restaurant, and they cleared out a restaurant.”


Biden earlier claimed he had the “great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island.”

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