Biden Apologizes for Comments on 1960s Segregationist Senators

U.S Vice President Joe Biden hugs Madeliene Smith, a graduate of Harvard University who was raped while attending college after Smith spoke during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

U.S Vice President Joe Biden hugs Madeliene Smith, a graduate of Harvard University who was raped while attending college after Smith spoke during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

The former vice president addressed the issue directly on Saturday because it was "the first opportunity I had to do it in a fulsome way", he told reporters Sunday, explaining that he wanted to speak in SC - where blacks account for 60% of the Democratic primary electorate - and in front of "an audience that in fact would be the most likely to have been offended by what was said". "I get all this information about other people's past and what they've done and not done and I'm not going to go there". Yes I was. I regret it and I'm sorry for any of the pain and misconception it may have caused to anybody.

On Saturday, he asked: "Should that misstep define 50 years of my record for fighting for civil rights and racial justice in this country? That doesn't represent my record".

Former vice president-turned-2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Thursday that he won't use the political histories of his Democratic rivals against them.

"I strongly believe you should judge a society based on how it treats its children, and one of the greatest expressions of love that a society can extend to its children is to invest in their education", Harris said during the town hall.

"I've worked to make that change happen, and yes, I've changed also", Biden said in prepared remarks released to the press ahead of his Sumter stop.

At a Charleston restaurant on Sunday, Biden was asked why he was apologizing now for remarks from several weeks ago.

In an interview which aired on Friday at CNN, Mr Biden said, "I think it helps having a woman on the ticket".

Biden has been on the defensive since the confrontation with Harris, who criticized his opposition to federally mandated busing to integrate schools in the 1970s and his willingness to work with segregationist senators. But Catanch, 73, said she wasn't concerned about any critique of Biden's past stances, including on busing, and instead admired what she characterized as Biden's commitment to stay above the fray. Hillary Clinton's strong support among black voters was critical in helping her secure the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Her campaign disputed the notion that she was backtracking from the position she took during the debate, arguing that she supported busing in the 1970s - when Biden opposed it - but believes conditions now make it an issue to be decided by local school districts.

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Harris's campaign team says many of these changes were planned far earlier.

She said she was undecided about who to support in 2020, but Mr Biden is among the top of her choices, along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Harris.

Biden defended his record on racial issues and reminded voters of his ties to former President Barack Obama, whose popularity in SC remains high.

Harris announced a $100 billion housing proposal aimed at helping poor people living in rental properties or receiving public assistance for their housing to buy houses. He was one of the great presidents of the United States of America, and I'm exhausted of hearing about what he didn't do, ' Biden said of Obama. I hope not, I don't think so.

Biden on Sunday was continuing his campaign tour of SC, the first Southern state to vote in next year's primary and a crucial proving ground for candidates seeking the support of black Democrats.

"Growing up here in SC, that's meaningful to us", said Willis, who is white.

Biden added that he was ready to move on: "This is about the future".

'Sure they were going to come after me.

Ahead of his SC stops, Biden's campaign said he planned to say his lengthy public service career "will be weaponized against him by opposition researchers", would pledge to "take on those attacks directly" and would not allow his record "to be distorted and mischaracterized". They know me well.

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