Presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Vice President Joe Biden are ready to rumble.
Perhaps inspired by the uptick Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) received from going after Biden during the first round of debates in June, Booker on Tuesday called the former vice president the "architect" of mass incarceration, in reference to Biden's support for a controversial 1994 bill that has been criticized for increasing the rate of incarceration in the U.S.
Biden's campaign didn't take the dig lying down, however, nor were they prepared to wait until next Wednesday's primary debate in Detroit when the two will share the stage. Instead, the team went on the offensive on Wednesday, arguing that it was actually Booker who needed to address his past positions regarding the criminal justice system during his time as the mayor of Newark. The statement included references to his 2006 commitment to zero tolerance for minor infractions and his oversight of a police department that allegedly stopped people — mainly African Americans — without legal basis.
In short, Biden's campaign was arguing that it was state and local policies that led to the increase in incarceration, not the 1994 bill.
Statement from @JoeBiden deputy campaign manager on Booker’s attacks on Biden’s record on criminal justice: “It is Senator Booker, in fact, who has some hard questions to answer about his role in the criminal justice system” pic.twitter.com/gByk3TCI8C