Speaking to a room of over 100 donors on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden assured his supporters that he will be less “polite” at the upcoming second Democratic presidential candidate debate.
“I’m not going to be as polite this time,” Biden said, according to Detroit News.
The former vice president took a veiled shot at Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who arguably hit him the hardest at the previous debate. “[T]his is the same person who asked me to come to California and nominate her in her convention,” he said.
“If they want to argue about the past, I can do that,” Biden said of his record. “I got a past I’m proud of. They got a past that’s not quite so good.”
Indeed, one of the former vice president’s biggest weaknesses in this primary, where he faces the restive far-left Democratic Party base, is the fact he has a past at all — a weakness that opponents like Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) have been trying to exploit. On Tuesday, for instance, Booker denounced Biden as an “architect” of mass incarceration.
Booker blamed Biden for what he labeled a “failed” criminal justice system, dismissing the former vice president’s new plan to combat mass incarceration and escalating a weeks-long dispute between the pair.
“Joe Biden had more than 40 years to get this right. The proud architect of a failed system is not the right person to fix it,” Booker said in response to Biden’s proposed plan to fix the alleged scourge of mass incarceration, according to Politico. “While it’s encouraging to see Vice President Biden finally come around to supporting many of the ideas I and others have proposed, his plan falls short of the transformative change our broken criminal justice system needs.”
“Our next president must both heal our country from decades of racist and unjust policy, and put forward a sweeping vision for how we can rise together,” continued. “Joe Biden’s plan doesn’t do that.”
Biden, however, immediately shot back at Booker, accusing him of hypocrisy for how his own police department behaved while mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
“Cory knows that’s not true,” Biden told reporters in Michigan, according to USA Today. “His police department was stopping and frisking mostly African American men. If he wants to go back and talk about records, I’m happy to do that. But I’d rather talk about the future.”
Despite Biden’s lackluster debate performance several weeks ago, the polls indicate he has maintained his lead in the 2020 Democratic presidential sweepstakes. According to FiveThirtyEight, Harris has even lost a few points after a significant bump.
“Biden has rebounded to 28.4 percentage points from a low of 26.0 percentage points just after the debate. He was at 32.1 percent before the debate, so he’s regained about two-fifths of what he lost,” reports the outlet. “Harris has fallen to 12.2 percentage points from a peak of 15.2 percentage points. She was at 7.0 percent before the debate, so she’s lost about a third of what she’d gained.”