MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell said the hurt for Vice President Joe Biden's position on segregation-era busing may only be beginning. O'Donnell, reacting to Biden's faceoff with Sen. Kamala Harris at Thursday's debate, said if Biden wants to get into his busing position, "it's going to get worse and worse" for him.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: I'm stunned that I am sitting here tonight and I'm hearing Joe Biden in his interview talk about de jure segregation he referred to. This is a history lesson that I'm amazed we have to go back to. In the 1970s when Joe Biden was working on this issue, there were two kinds of segregation that were constantly being talked about. De facto segregation which was Boston where I was a kid and where they had a busing program that was one of the most controversial in the country. That was because of de facto.
What Joe Biden was just saying if you were to follow the detail of it was in effect he was opposed to the busing order in Boston because it was based on de facto segregation and he was only in favor of de jure, but even that was not actually what his position was. And if this continues to go into a detailed analysis of what his busing position was in the 1970s, it's going to get worse and worse for Joe Biden. Because he did hang onto an anti-busing position long after most Democrats gave up including a southern Democrat from North Carolina who said I'm opposed to busing, I didn't want it, but it's been working for the last few years and Joe Biden was trying to stop it even then in 1978.
And one of his biggest opponents in the Senate at the time was the only black Senator in the Senate who was a Republican from Massachusetts, Edward Brooke, whose capital city was in the throes of this. So the story for Joe Biden on busing is actually a more durable controversy than the one about the way he talked about the segregationist Senators in the fundraiser. And there's a part of Kamala Harris' story about busing that she didn't finish and she will. And it's when she got off that bus because of busing, she got a great education. And that great, great education has her standing there tonight.