New: A weekly newsletter about the trends shaping cities


Biden says his comments on segregationists were taken out of context

 Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Al Sharpton during a television interview during the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22.
Al Sharpton and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden told MSNBC's Al Sharpton Saturday his comments on segregationist senators and race were taken out of context.

Driving the news: The former vice president has been criticized for citing 2 former Democratic colleagues — the white supremacist segregationists James Eastland and Herman Talmadge — as examples of how the Senate used to be more civil.

  • "I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland," Biden was widely reported to have said at a fundraiser. "He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.'"
  • "[H]erman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew ... Well guess what? At least there was some civility," he said. "We got things done. We got it finished."

The big picture: Sharpton, a civil rights activist and Baptist minister who was a White House adviser in the Obama administration, interviewed Biden on the sidelines of the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention.

  • At the convention, Biden pledged that if elected he would repeal 2017 tax cuts "on day one" of his presidency and also $500 billion in tax loopholes, according to AP. He also said he wanted an $8,000 per child credit for child care, close tax loopholes on 2-year college tuition grants and touted a public option health insurance plan, per AP.

Go deeper: