Aug 1, 2019

Booker to Biden: "You invoke Obama more than anybody in this campaign"

Sen. Cory Booker attacked former Vice President Joe Biden for refusing to condemn the high number of deportations carried out under the Obama administration, accusing Biden of invoking Obama "when it's convenient and dodge it when it's not."

"First of all, you can't have it both ways. You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can't do it when it's convenient and dodge it when it's not. And the second thing, and this irks me. If you got a PhD., you can come right into this country. That's playing into what the Republicans want, to pit some immigrants against some immigrants. Some are from "shithole countries." We need to be the country that says everyone has worth and dignity and this should be a country that honors everyone. Don't let the Republicans divide this party against itself."

The big picture: The moment was one of several in which Booker — as many candidates chose to do after the success of Kamala Harris' attack in the first debate — went after Biden for his record on race and immigration. Under the Obama administration, total ICE deportations were above 385,000 each year in fiscal years 2009-2011, and hit a high of 409,849 in fiscal 2012. For all that Democrats attack President Trump for his inhumane immigration policies, the current administration has yet to match Barack Obama's early deportation levels.

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4 big takeaways from Night 2 of the second Democratic debates

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The overwhelming strategy may have been “Kill Biden” for the second night of CNN’s Democratic debates, but the former vice president came far more prepared to fend off his critics on Wednesday night than he was in June.

The big picture: Kamala Harris picked up right where she left off at last month's debates, attacking Biden early and often for upholding the status quo with his health care plan — pivoting back to Biden even when asked to respond to comments made by other candidates. But it was clear that Biden did his homework, deflecting attacks with moderate success from Harris, Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and others who came armed with opposition research.

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Castro and de Blasio take Biden to task for Obama's deportations

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio put the pressure on Joe Biden on Wednesday for massive early deportation numbers during the Obama administration — accusing the former vice president of trying to diminish his role.

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Biden steps away from Obama during the 2nd Democratic debate

Joe Biden approaches Kamala Harris during a commercial break. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The second Democratic primary debate showed former Vice President Joe Biden's long career has its liabilities.

The big picture: The pile-on covered everything from his Senate years (Kirsten Gillibrand attacking him for a 1981 op-ed about "deterioration of the family") to his years as President Obama's vice president (Bill de Blasio on deportations) to his moderation (Kamala Harris on his health care plan, Jay Inslee on his climate plan).

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