MIAMI, Florida — Campaign surrogates for former Vice President Joe Biden struggled to defend their candidate’s performance after the first Democratic debate on Thursday night.
Anita Dunn, Symone Sanders, and their team — filling in for the candidate himself, who did not visit the spin room — faced a scrum of journalists who fired questions about what many in the media perceived as a poor showing.
Sanders, in particular, battled mightily to defend Biden’s past statements and positions on school busing, which came under withering attack from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who said that she had been one of the young black Americans helped by desegregation efforts.
Ms. Sanders said:
I think, in general, the real question on the table here is is Vice President Biden someone that voters can trust to fight for them, someone they can trust to be in the trenches for them when it comes to civil rights, when it comes to LGBTQ questions, when it comes to women. And, unequivocally, the answer is yes. Vice President Biden stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama for eight years in the White House. Okay? And so the idea that he is somehow out of step with the Democratic Party when it comes to civil rights — I just don’t think it sticks. And I don’t think it will stick with the voters. And so tonight we were happy to talk about the issue.
Sanders later added, in Biden’s defense, that “the politics of busing were very complicated.”
Journalists — many voicing left-wing criticisms — also asked Biden’s team to defend other points, such as his statement that the problem with gun violence was not NRA members, but gun manufacturers.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.