Jul 9, 2019

Jill Biden: The American people know Joe Biden isn't racist

Former Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden told "Cuomo Prime Time" Monday they've been surprised by attacks from Democrats who know him since he became a presidential candidate. Jill Biden said the "biggest surprise" was Sen. Kamala Harris confronting her husband on race at the 2020 debate.

"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?"
— Jill Biden

Context: Harris confronted her Democratic presidential rival at the debate for opposing federally mandated busing in the 1970s, drawing from her personal experience as being "part of the second class to integrate her public schools." And she addressed his comments on working with segregationist senators, for which he has since apologized.

The big picture: Harris qualified her debate point by saying, "I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground" — something CNN's Chris Cuomo pointed out to Jill Biden during his interview with the couple.

"As I heard those words I thought, 'uh oh, what's coming next? The American people know Joe Biden. They know his values. They know what he stands for. And they didn't buy it."
Jill Biden
  • In the wide-ranging interview with Cuomo, the couple also opened up about their late son, Beau, and the struggles their son Hunter has with addiction and mental illness.

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Debate night: Harris and Biden go head-to-head

Biden and Harris meet on-stage on July 31, 2019. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden greeted Sen. Kamala Harris on the debate stage Wednesday with a request: "Go easy on me, kid."

For the record: 5 senior campaign officials told Axios' Alexi McCammond that Biden was "ready to throw down" on Wednesday, after Harris' took control at the first Democratic debates in Miami. Harris and Biden went head-to-head tonight on these issues:

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 1, 2019

What to watch for on Night 2 of the second Democratic debates

Biden gives a foreign policy speech in New York in July. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

DETROIT, Mich. — The biggest lesson Joe Biden learned from the first debate is that there are no rules of engagement at these things, and he's ready to throw down at tonight's debate, according to five senior campaign officials.

What to watch: Yes, he's going to keep contrasting himself with President Trump. But he's squarely focused on Sen. Kamala Harris, too, after the first debate in Miami.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 31, 2019

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.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019