Sen. Kamala Harris’s debate night cheap shot at Joe Biden on the issue of busing appears to have backfired on her spectacularly.
After she was praised by left-wing pundits as the winner of the second Democratic presidential debate last week, Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) enjoyed a wave of positive polling numbers, increased fundraising numbers, and favorable publicity.
Her perceived debate victory stems from how she brutally confronted frontrunner Joe Biden on his remarks about working with segregationist Senators and his position on busing. Here’s the transcript of their remarks towards each other on the busing issue:
HARRIS: And I’m going to now direct this at Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe — and it is personal, and it was actually very hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputation and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And you know, there was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly. As attorney general of California, I was very proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents wear body cameras and keep those cameras on.
BIDEN: A mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists, that is not true. Number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I’m happy to do that. I was a public defender. I didn’t become a prosecutor. I came out and left a good law firm to become a public defender when, in fact, when, in fact, when, in fact, my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King. Number one, number two. Excuse me — as the vice president of the United States, I worked with a man who, in fact, we worked very hard to see it to, we dealt with these issues. And in a major, major way. The fact is that in terms of busing, the busing, I never — you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That’s fine. That’s one of the things I argued for, that we should not be — we should be breaking down these lines. So the bottom line here is, look, everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights. I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights. And those civil rights, by the way, include not just African Americans but the L.G.B.T.Q. communities.
HARRIS: But Vice President Biden, do you agree today, do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then? Do you agree?
BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.
HARRIS: It’s a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was a part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California, public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.
BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision. It was a local decision.
HARRIS: That’s where the federal government must step in, that’s why we have the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. That’s why we need to pass the Equality Act, it’s why we need to pass the E.R.A. Because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.
Here’s video of their debate argument below:
WATCH: Harris says she doesn't think Biden is a racist, but she talks directly to Biden about his having worked with segregationists on the issue of school busing. #DemDebate2 pic.twitter.com/Ytb2xvOhux
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 28, 2019
A few days later, she reiterated her support for federally mandated busing:
On Sunday, Kamala Harris expressed support for new, federally mandated busing policies. “I support busing. Listen, the schools of America are as segregated, if not more segregated, today than when I was in elementary school,” Harris said. “Where states fail to do their duty to ensure equality of all people and in particular where states create or pass legislation that created inequality, there’s no question that the federal government has a role and a responsibility to step up.”
Here’s her full statement from that Sunday interview below:
.@KamalaHarris: “I support busing. Listen, the schools of America are as segregated, if not more segregated, today than when I was in [school]…need to put every effort, including busing, into play to de-segregate the schools…fed govt has a role & a responsibility to step up." pic.twitter.com/a7ujueP0Bu
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) June 30, 2019
Though Biden himself has largely taken a neutral but not concessionary tone on Harris’s broadside since the debate, their surrogates have been battling it out on social media, including a tense back and forth exchange on Wednesday after the Associated Press reported that Harris’s position had shifted:
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 4, 2019
Even David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, seemed confused as to why Harris brought this up in the first place considering her position has apparently changed:
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 4, 2019
Wait. Harris planned her attack on Biden long before the debate https://t.co/RQSWcXM3U8 If this is her stand on the issue, that means it was an utterly cynical stunt (since she doesn't really disagree with him)… https://t.co/l4CJ9UI5gl
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) July 4, 2019
On Thursday, just a few days after saying “the schools of America are as segregated — if not more segregated — today than when I was in elementary school,” Harris said that the same segregation challenges that existed in the 70s do not exist today:
Harris talked busing and more, just now. Said she and Biden do not agree on the issue. And says that while she supports federally mandated busing to address certain challenges, those circumstances don't necessarily exist today. pic.twitter.com/vqOhU7Wrhv
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 4, 2019
Watch video of her revised answer on her position versus Biden’s below:
Sen. Kamala Harris: "[Joe Biden] has yet to agree that his position on this which was to work with segregationists and oppose busing was wrong, period. And you know let's just — do we need to do a quick lesson in history?" pic.twitter.com/JvhEhe7IM2
— The Hill (@thehill) July 5, 2019
Even the CNN chyron notes Harris’s position is now really no different than Biden’s:
Kamala Harris backtracks on busing position, saying busing should be "considered by a school district." pic.twitter.com/MS3t7XfTsx
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 4, 2019
In contrast to how her performance was hailed and praised by liberal commentators in the immediate aftermath of the debate, Harris’s debate night cheap shot at Joe Biden appears to have backfired on her spectacularly. I mean, you know it’s bad when even the Democrat-friendly mainstream media notices it and calls it out.
While she may welcome the short-term gains that have come from putting a dent in Biden’s poll numbers and popularity, Harris may find long-term that her well-documented penchant for conveniently flip flopping may come back to haunt her.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.