Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden said Sen. Kamala Harris "mischaracterized" his view on segregation and school bussing at Thursday night's debate and said he actually was part of solving the problem as a local and county official.
GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC: Mr. Biden, did Kamala Harris misrepresent your position?
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Yes, she did.
HAAKE: She mischaracterized it how, sir?
BIDEN: I don't think she intended anything. She mischaracterized it because I supported busing to eliminate de jure segregation. That means --
[INTERUPTED BY FANS]
HAAKE: Sir, this is an important point to clarify, Mr. Vice President. She made the argument this is very personal to her, that this was eventually an issue the federal government should have a role interacting in the local space here.
BIDEN: Sure, we should have a role by breaking down the barriers that exist in institutional racism. That's what I did when I was a local official and county official. What we're talking about is whether or not the Department of Education, as opposed to the courts, could order de jure segregation, meaning segregation imposed by law. There's de facto and de jure segregation. I supported of course an ability to strike down any order -- as a matter of fact, I voted against an amendment that came up in the Senate, I was the deciding vote for a Senator here in Florida that was called the Gurney amendment, I was the deciding vote. They wanted to take away the power of the court to stop busing. I voted against it.
HAAKE: Is it frustrating to you in the year 2019 to be relitigating these debates at this point?
BIDEN: Yeah, it should be about the future. It should be about what we're going to do to deal with institutional racism and it's real. We should be talking about what we're going to be doing in the prison system.