In a joint interview with her husband Joe Biden with CNN's Chris Cuomo, former Second Lady Jill Biden said the biggest surprise so far in his 2020 candidacy for president was Sen. Kamala Harris confronting him at the first primary debate.
"I think that they were looking at the past," she said of her husband's position on busing. "I mean, the one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist. I mean, he got into politics because of his commitment to civil rights and then to be elected with Barack Obama and then someone is saying, you know, you're a racist," the former Second Lady said.
I think the American people know Joe Biden. They know his values. They know what he stands for. And they didn't buy it.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I appreciate you guys taking this opportunity.
JOE BIDEN, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Happy to be here, man.
JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: Thanks, yes.
CUOMO: Thank you. This time how is this different for you?
JILL BIDEN: Well, it's -- you know, I think we knew this was going to be a little bit tougher. It feels a little bit different. There are so many candidates in the race. But so far, it's gone pretty well. So, we've been in, what, two months and things feel good.
CUOMO: Biggest surprise for you so far?
JILL BIDEN: The biggest surprise I think was the debate. I think -- you know, I think probably Kamala was a little bit of a surprise. I think that's the biggest surprise so far.
CUOMO: Different position for you. Fighting from the front, right?
JOE BIDEN: Yes.
Later in the interview, Biden said that people are "looking at the past" and that "if there is one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist."
CUOMO: One more question. You mentioned Senator Harris, the debate, I’ll talk to the V.P. about that as well. But when you were listing the things, here are the things we're going to have to fight against in this, right? Here we are, this is -- they may not think you have this, this, this.
You did not imagine I would think -- I’ll ask you differently.
CUOMO: Did you imagine that one of the things you’d have to deal with early on is whether or not your husband's past is basically bigoted? They can say I don’t think you’re a racist but --
JILL: They can say anything but --
CUOMO: But as soon as that comes out --
CUOMO: -- the crime bill --
CUOMO: -- working with people who were seen to be obviously extreme thinkers and bigots themselves, busing, did you anticipate those? And does it make you feel differently about where this could be headed?
JILL: You know, I think that they were looking at the past. I mean, the one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist. I mean, he got into politics because of his commitment to civil rights and then to be elected with Barack Obama and then someone is saying, you know, you're a racist. As soon as I heard those words --
CUOMO: They're saying you're not a racist, but this all stinks --
JILL: I know, but as soon as I heard those words, I thought, uh-oh, what's coming next?
And I think the American people know Joe Biden. They know his values. They know what he stands for. And they didn't buy it.
CUOMO: You don't think -- you took a hit in the polls and some of the African-Americans --
JILL: But the polls are coming back up. The polls are coming back up. So, we just saw that today, and I think the more people get to know Joe, the higher the polls will get.
JOE: Chris --
CUOMO: You, I want to thank you for your time.
JOE: He’s not sure.
CUOMO: No, no.