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Screenshot via MSNBC

Sen. Kamala Harris confronted former Vice President Joe Biden about his comments about working with segregationist senators and opposing federally-mandated busing in the 1970s — drawing from her own personal experience as being "part of the second class to integrate her public schools."

Why it matters: Harris took control of the night by not waiting for the NBC moderators to bring up segregation. She addressed Biden directly, repeatedly going over her time. She positioned herself as a product of history, but future-oriented and raring to change things in a way that Biden isn't.

  • A big question is who voters can picture onstage with President Trump. Harris was tough but also showed emotion, per Axios' Alayna Treene.

The video of the exchange:

"I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But I also believe — and it's personal and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly."

Biden fumbled his response, not pausing to acknowledge her life experience, and tapping out before he was cut off:

It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. The fact is that, in terms of busing, the busing, I never — you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. ...
I supported the ERA from the very beginning. I'm the guy that extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. ... I've also argued very strongly that we, in fact, deal with the notion of denying people access to the ballot box. I agree that everybody, once they, in fact — anyway, my time is up. I'm sorry.

How it's playing ... Stephen Colbert on a special live edition of CBS' "The Late Show": "I believe in global warming, because Kamala Harris was on fire."

  • Joy Reid on MSNBC's postgame: "She destabilized him on the race question."
  • Drudge Report: "BIDEN STAMMERS AS KAMALA EATS HIM ALIVE!"
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: Biden's race backlash

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Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

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