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In an interview with CNN, Joe Biden told Chris Cuomo that "I was prepared for them to come after me, but I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at ..." referencing Kamala Harris' attack on his history with racial issues in last week's Democratic debate.

The big picture: Joe Biden had previously shied away from doing interviews as he leads the Democratic field in the polls.

Biden on key questions:
  • On tapping out during the racial conversation in the debate, citing time limits: "In 30 seconds? Come on, man.... Well we've never had a place where you have 30 seconds, man. What I didn't want to do was get in that scrum. Do you think the American public looks at that debate and thought, 'Oh boy, I really like the way that's being conducted, they're really showing themselves to do really well.' Come on, man."
  • VP: "I think it'd be great to have a female VP, and if I don't win, it'd be great to have a female president."
  • On immigration: Biden said crossing the border illegally should not be decriminalized, that those seeking asylum should "have a chance to make their case," and that money should be spent in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to improve conditions in those countries.
  • On wanting to provide health care for undocumented migrants: "This is just common decency...In an emergency they should have health care. Everybody should. How do you say, 'You're undocumented, I'm gonna let you die, man?'"
  • On Medicare for All: "If you provide an option for anybody who in fact wants to buy into Medicare for All, they can buy in.... But if they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their neck to get, they shouldn't have to give it up.... If you don't go my way ... you have to give up all of that. What's going to happen when you have 300 million people landing on a health care plan? How long is that going to take? In the meantime, a lot of people are going to be in trouble."
  • On the ACA's individual mandate: "Yes, I'd bring back the individual mandate."
  • NATO: "If he wins reelection, I promise you, there'll be no NATO in 4 years or 5 years."
  • On approach to North Korea: "I'd make it real clear: Look you want to talk, you want to deal with us, you want sanctions lifted? Show me something, ahead of time."
  • On the Democratic political spectrum: "I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary. In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education and health care. My north star is the middle class."

Go deeper

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
1 hour ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Obama: Broad slogans like "defund the police" lose people

Snapchat.

Former President Barack Obama told Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show "Good Luck America" that "snappy" slogans such as "defund the police" can alienate people, making the statements less effective than intended.

What he's saying: "You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," Obama told Hamby in an interview that will air Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. EST on Snapchat.