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.

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Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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