Vice President Joe Biden claimed Wednesday that he came “out of the black community” when discussing his political support during the fifth Democrat presidential debate.
“I come out of the black community in terms of my support,” Biden said, noting that three former chairmen of the Congressional Black Caucus had endorsed his campaign as well as “the only African-American woman who’d ever been elected to the United States Senate.”
(That claim was incorrect, an obvious gaffe that was fact-checked in real-time by Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris on the debate stage)
Biden also claimed he was chosen to be Former President Barack Obama’s running mate because of his connections to the black community.
“One of the reasons I was picked to be vice president was because of my relationship, long-standing relationship with the black community,” he said. “I was part of that coalition.”
Obama’s pick of Biden as his running mate in 2007, however, was widely seen as an outreach to white blue-collar voters, as he had roots in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Biden’s record on African-American issues has become a focal point by Democrats in the 2020 primary, who criticized him for supporting segregated busing in Delaware and supporting the 1990’s crime bill that incarcerated black Americans at a higher rate.
Biden was also criticized for proudly recalling working with avowed segregationists in the Senate, such as Democrat Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia.
“He never called me boy, he always called me son,” Biden said about Eastland.
Both Booker and Harris disparaged Biden’s remarks in July, despite the former vice president to President Barack Obama getting early support from the black community in states such as South Carolina.