Former Vice President Joe Biden shoots a selfie at the conclusion of the second night of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in Miami, Florida, US, June 27, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

MIAMI – In an effort to steady his presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden engaged in some furious damage control on Friday, a day after rival candidate Kamala Harris hurt him in the most dramatic clash so far of the 2020 election campaign.

Addressing an African-American advocacy group in Chicago, Biden defended his record, saying he had a “lifetime commitment to civil rights”.

At the Democratic debate in Miami on Thursday, Harris, a black US senator from California, tore into Biden for opposing mandatory school busing in the 1970s and for his cooperation with segregationists while he was a young senator.

Biden’s defensive and sometimes faltering response was viewed as a blow to his status as the Democratic race’s front-runner. He has consistently held a significant lead in public opinion polls since he entered the race in April.

The contentious back-and-forth also appeared to give Harris a boost when her campaign badly needed it, resulting in a crush of media attention, a fundraising surge, and a bevy of new endorsements.

On Friday, Biden spoke to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the African-American advocacy group founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, in Chicago.

Before reading his prepared remarks, Biden told the crowd the debate format was insufficient for him to detail his decades-long work to promote racial equality, first as the US.

senator and then as vice president to Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.

“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,” Biden said.

Biden was introduced by Jackson, the longtime civil-rights leader and former presidential candidate, who said Biden has “the stuff it takes to make America better.”

During his remarks, Biden turned to Jackson and said, “I know and you know I fought my heart out to ensure that civil rights, and voting rights, equal rights are enforced everywhere.”

Biden disputed Harris’ contention that he opposed busing, the controversial practice of transporting students to schools within or outside their school districts as a remedy for discrimination, in the 1970s, saying that he supported voluntary efforts for school districts to desegregate.

He reaffirmed his support for the federal government’s power to address civil-rights abuses, and talked up Obama’s accomplishments on criminal-justice reform, arguing that many of them have been overlooked.

“I’m tired of hearing about what he didn’t do,” Biden told the crowd. “This man had a backbone like a ramrod.”

Harris’ campaign on Friday rolled out new endorsements in key early voting states such as Iowa, South Carolina and California and said it had enjoyed one of its best fundraising days of her candidacy.

Speaking to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Friday, Harris said, “I think we covered a lot of issues, and I’m looking forward to the next (debate).”

Asked if she thought Biden had responded adequately to her discussion of his comments on his work with segregationists, Harris said, “He said what he felt.”




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Factbox: Canada offers C$2.5 billion for hard-hit energy sector as part of COVID-19 stimulus

(Reuters) – * Canada to invest C$1.7 billion ($1.2 billion) to clean up orphan and abandoned wells, set up C$750 million emission reduction loan fund and offer C$962 million to regional development agencies to help small businesses. * Bank of…

Online shopping mishaps in lockdown

I thought I had ordered one pack of eight briefs from Next for £38. I failed to notice that I had inadvertently added four additional packs to my order. So I ended up ordering 40 pairs of briefs at a…

‘Dependent’ Germany overestimates its power by insisting it will deal with Russia from a ‘position of strength’ — Moscow

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova argued that Germany’s rhetoric failed to match the political and military reality. “There is strength there, but it isn’t yours, and you can’t control it”, she said, adding that Germany is “completely and utterly within…

British war graves staff tending European cemeteries face a ‘50% pay cut’ due to Brexit – and were told the day after Armistice Day

British war graves staff working in France and Belgium tending to the resting places of soldiers killed during both World Wars are reportedly facing a 50% pay cut due to Brexit.    The unsung heroes have expressed their outrage after they…