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Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has given himself a January deadline to decide whether to run for president in 2020, used his address at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Washington Monday to express regret for supporting tough-on-crime bills during his time in Congress, including a measure that established strict sentencing standards for crack and powder cocaine offenses.

Why it matters: Biden would be an early front-runner if he enters the race.

But his role in helping to pass tough-on-crime legislations in the 1990s — that experts say have led to an era of mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black Americans — will certainly face scrutiny.

"I haven't always been right. I know we haven't always gotten things right, but I've always tried. … It was a big mistake when it was made. We thought, we were told by the experts, that crack you never go back, [and that the two were] somehow fundamentally different. It's not different. But it's trapped an entire generation."
— Biden said.

In his remarks, Biden highlighted the work he did with President Barack Obama to help curb sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine.

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Sports

Live updates: Olympics formally kick off with "sobering" opening ceremony

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway. But this year's largely spectator-less opening ceremony is a "sobering" event focused primarily on the athletes.

The latest: The cauldron in Tokyo has been lit, formally kicking off the Olympic Games. Tennis star Naomi Osaka had the honor of carrying the Olympic torch to light the cauldron.

1 hour ago - Sports

Cleveland Indians change name to "Guardians"

The Cleveland Indians baseball team announced Friday that it will change its nickname to the "Guardians," following years of activism and protests against a moniker considered offensive by many Native Americans.

Why it matters: It's the first time the team will change its name since 1915, a move that comes in the wake of the nationwide racial reckoning that began with the murder of George Floyd.

Alabama governor: "It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks"

Photo: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A frustrated Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) told reporters Thursday that "it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks" for the state's continued surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Why it matters: Alabama has reported nearly 8,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past week. It's one of the few states in the country with fewer than 40% of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.