Joe Biden: ‘Poor Kids Are Just as Bright and Just as Talented as White Kids’

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” while addressing the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday.

“We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools,” the former vice president said when discussing the need to improve America’s education system. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor you cannot do it, poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

Biden quickly attempted to clarify his remarks by adding “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids” to the end of his previous sentence.

The gaffe comes just as Biden was moving past the recent controversy surrounding his praise of two segregationist Democrats, the late Sens. James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA). Biden invoked the men, who dedicated their careers to halting the progress of civil rights, at a fundraiser in New York City in June while touting his ability to get “things done” in Congress.

The remarks, which were controversial in their own right, only served to underscore his 40-year record of opposing busing to desegregate public schools. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was quick to rebuke the former vice president over the issue at the first Democrat presidential debate, noting that both men had been allies in his campaign against busing.

“It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing,” Harris said at the debate. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed 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.”

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