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Former Vice President Joe Biden says "folks" think Mayor Pete Buttigieg's removal of an African American police chief is a problem when it comes to his support among black voters in the 2020 Democratic presidential election.

The big picture: In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Biden cited a lack of experience in diverse communities as a reason Buttigieg might be struggling.

  • "If you take a look at why he doesn't have support in significant black support, even in his own city, his own city."
  • "I come out of an environment where I have the eighth largest black population in the country, in my state, and that's where I got my political education."
  • "A lot of people have not spent a lot of time in diverse communities. I have, I have. Including in the Latino community."

Earlier in the interview, Biden referenced his history in the African American community:

  • "I've never been uncomfortable or unwelcomed in the African American community. And because they know I care deeply about the issues ... that affect them and systemic racism still exists."
  • "I've been deeply involved in the issues that we used to call and still affect civil rights and human rights."

The big picture: Biden has consistently polled very strongly among African American voters, while Buttigieg has struggled to make inroads.

  • This will become a real problem after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, which feature mostly white voters.

The bottom line: Despite several candidates surging at times in the race — first Sen. Kamala Harris (who dropped out last week) and then Sen. Elizabeth Warren — Biden has led the RealClearPolitics polling average for all but a few weeks of this primary cycle.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.

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