When Joe Biden spoke to a mostly African American audience here Friday, he was a different person than presidential candidate who was thrashed over the issue of segregation at a nationally televised debate the night before.
This time, Biden was fiery, concise and clear as he ticked off his work with hometown hero Barack Obama and defended his civil rights record, which came into question after his high-profile clash with Kamala Harris, the only black woman in the Democratic primary. In a more controlled environment, with the help of teleprompters, Biden laid out his record on civil rights in a way that didn’t resonate the night before.
“Before I start, I’d like to say something about the debate we had last night. And I heard and I listened to and I respect senator Harris. 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.
“I want to be clear about my record and position. On racial justice, including busing — I never, never, never ever opposed voluntary busing as a program that senator Harris participated in.”