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If there’s one thing that a presidential candidate has never done in the history of debates, it is ceding their time when the light goes on. And if you watched the past two days of Democratic debates, you saw harried moderators frantically trying to silence candidates still speaking after their allotted minute expired.
That is unless you are Joe Biden defending yourself against your work with segregationist senators, and your votes against bussing, while getting grilled by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
In the debate’s biggest exchange, Harris pressed Biden on his record, and Biden offered a vociferous defense, until… he didn’t.
“I supported the [Equal Rights Act] for the beginning,” Biden said. “I’m the guy who extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 years, we got to the place where we got 98 out of 98 votes in the U.S Senate doing it. I’ve also argued very strongly, in fact, that we deal with the notion of denying people access to the ballot box. I agree that everybody once they [gibberish] anyway my times up.”
It may be the first time a candidate’s done something like that, and doing so, while defending his policies on race, was criticized online.
In the wake of Biden’s spat with Harris, a Biden aide went on the offensive, calling her attacks “exactly what Donald Trump wants.”
Wow. @JoeBiden campaign pits out statement saying “Harris is doing exactly what Trump wants.” Jesus— Jodi Jacobson (@jljacobson) June 28, 2019
Let’s get real. @JoeBiden fought for civil rights for his entire life. He started his career as a public defender. To attack him because he worked to convince Repubs (yes, some with horrible views) to vote for the Voting Rights Act is outrageous and is exactly what Trump wants.— Cristóbal Alex (@CristobalJAlex) June 28, 2019
Biden will have plenty of more time to answer that question, as there are still seven more months until the first primaries.
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David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]