vision 2020

Watch Kamala Harris Confront Joe Biden Over His Record on Race

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senator Kamala Harris was the first candidate to directly confront front-runner and former vice-president Joe Biden during Thursday’s Democratic debate, addressing his friendly working relationship with two segregationist Democrats in the 1970s. Harris began with an olive branch, clarifying that she does not think that Biden is racist. Then she dug in: “I also believe, and it is personal, and it was hurtful, to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”

Harris continued, addressing Biden’s more damning history of working with segregationist Democrats “to oppose busing. And 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 everyday. And that little girl was me.”

Biden disputed Harris’s claim that he opposed busing, although his current defense — it was a city’s or state’s right to integrate schools (or not) by transporting black students to white schools and vice-versa — wasn’t much better than his comment on the issue in his 2007 memoir: Busing was a “liberal train wreck.”

Whether or not that response was part of the debate plan, New York’s Olivia Nuzzi reports that Biden’s team isn’t too happy with his responses:

Kamala Harris Confronts Joe Biden Over His Record on Race