Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Kamala Harris puts Biden on blast for his civil rights record

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former Vice President Joe Biden sparred during the Democratic debate on Thursday as she put him on blast for his civil rights record.

Harris during the debate turned directly to Biden to tell him that she does "not believe you are a racist," but that it was "hurtful" for him to talk recently about working with segregationists senators, a remark Biden came under fire for. She also hit Biden for having opposed busing, tying this into her own experiences as a child.

There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day," she said. "And that little girl was me."

Biden called this a "mischaracterization" of his position, saying he didn't "praise racists" while also defending his civil rights record.

"I was a public defender," Biden said to Harris, a former prosecutor. "I didn't become a prosecutor."

Harris directly asked Biden if he believes he was wrong to oppose busing, to which Biden responded, "I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed was busing ordered by the Department of Education." Harris continued to tear into Biden, telling him, "there are moments in history where states fail to support the civil rights of all people." Brendan Morrow