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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

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.

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