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'Go Easy on Me Kid': Biden Bears Brunt of Attacks in Night 2 of Democrats' Detroit Debate

08-01-2019
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Booker and Biden at Democratic Debate
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker clash in Democratic debate in Detroit (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON – Democrat presidential candidates went at it again last night in the second set of debates in Detroit. At center stage, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) exchanged barbs, and they weren't the only ones.

The night kicked off with a memorable line from frontrunner Biden as he shook hands with Harris.

"Go easy on me kid," Biden said, to the dislike of many critics.

But no one went easy on him, and Harris threw some of the first familiar punches, challenging Biden on issues like race and bussing.

"The vice president has still failed to acknowledge that it was wrong to take the position that he took at that time," said Harris, targeting his record on civil rights.

Biden shot right back, pointing out how he was vetted by former President Barack Obama.

"Barack Obama knew exactly who I was," he said. "He had ten lawyers do a background check and everything about me on civil rights and he chose me and said it was the best decision."

Biden also came out strong against Harris for going back and forth on her healthcare plan.

"You can't beat Donald Trump with double talk," he said.

And other candidates got a piece of the action too. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) went after Biden on criminal justice reform.

"Since the 1970s, every crime bill, major and minor, has had his name on it," said Booker.

Biden came back with his own criticism of Booker's record.

"You had a police department that you went out and hired Rudy Giuliani's guy and you engaged in stop and frisk," said Biden.

The most Googled line of the night came from Booker in this exchange with Biden. "Mr. Vice President, there's a saying in my community that you're dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don't even know the flavor."

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) took a shot at Harris' record as a former prosecutor, targeting the same topic of criminal justice.

"She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana," said Gabbard. "She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so."

Harris responded with this defense of her record: "As the elected attorney general of California, I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of the state of 40 million people."

Candidates also clashed over immigration, with Biden defending the policies of the Obama administration and saying people who come to the United States illegally should be sent back.

Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, attacked Biden directly.

"It looks like one of us has learned from the lessons of the past and one of us hasn't," said Castro. "We need to have some guts on this issue."

And no surprise, President Donald Trump took some knocks too.

"We can no longer allow a white nationalist to be in the White House," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) piled on with this much talked about line: "So, the first thing that I'm going to do when I'm president is I'm going to Clorox the Oval Office."

The next debate is in September in Houston but likely only about half of these candidates will make the cut.

 

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