Newly minted vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris struggled to walk back calling out Joe Biden’s long record of working with segregationist senators, telling CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert that her harsh criticism of Biden’s record on race should be viewed as politics and not something she truly believes.
Colbert was curious how Harris could be “fully supportive” of Joe Biden after “landing haymakers” on him in the early presidential primary debates. “And now, I believe you that you’re fully supportive of him,” Colbert said to Harris during a recent interview. “How did that transition happen? How do you go from being such a passionate opponent on such bedrock principles for you, and now, you guys seem to be pals?”
In response, Harris tried to literally laugh it all off as just a debate tactic, as if her broadside attacks on Joe were just stagecraft, not statecraft.
“It was a debate,” Harris said laughing.
“Not everyone landed punches like you did, though,” Colbert reiterated.
“It was a debate,” Harris managed to say while still laughing.
“So, you don’t mean it?” Colbert asked, grinning.
Harris continued to brush her criticism of Biden off, saying “It was a debate. The whole evening, literally, it was a debate. It was called a debate. There were journalists covering the debate…”
Harris was hailed as a tough-as-nails fighter during the July debates last year when she went after Joe Biden over his record on busing and segregation. Harris called out the former vice president on his past close relationship with several staunch segregationists in the 1970s and 80s, a working relation Biden had long defended.
“When Vice President Biden was in the United States Senate working with segregationists to oppose busing, which was the vehicle by which we would integrate America’s public schools, had I been in the United States Senate at that time I would have been on the other side of the aisle,” Harris said during the July 31 debate.
The California Democrat senator added that had Biden’s effort been successful, she and other black Americans would not now have the opportunity to hold high positions in elective office. “Had those segregationists had their way, I would not be a member of the United States Senate, Cory Booker would not be a member of the United States Senate, and President Obama would not have been in a position to nominate [Biden] to the place he holds,” she said.
Harris also said that she and Biden could not “be further apart” on the issue. Indeed, she said she personally benefited from the policies Biden opposed. Harris even called Biden’s actions in the senate “hurtful.”
“It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing,” Harris said. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate. … We have to take it seriously.”
Now, Sen. Harris wants voters to believe that her personal and passionate take down of Biden was “just a debate.”
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