We all knew former Vice President Joe Biden pigeonholed himself when he said he would pick an African American woman to be his running mate. It really narrowed down his pool of potential picks. When he announced Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate, some people were stunned. After all, Harris went after Biden on quite a few issues, most notably about how he worked with segregations and opposing busing students to integrate schools across the country.
“I do not believe you’re 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. It was actually very 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,” she explained. “And it was not only that but you also worked with them to oppose busing.”
The senator went on to ask whether or not it was wrong for Biden to oppose busing. According to the former vice president, he was against the federal government, through the Department of Education, mandating that busing take place.
“Well, there’s a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkley, California public schools, almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education,” she hit back.
Biden said it was because of Harris’ city council that the busing decision was made.
“So that’s where the federal government must step up and in. That’s why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act! That’s why we need to pass the Equality Act!” Harris shouted. “That’s why we need to pass the ERA, because there are moments in history when states fail to preserve civil rights of all people.”
“In those debates you landed haymakers on Joe Biden. I mean, his teeth were like Chiclets all over the stage and now, I believe you that you’re fully supportive of him. How does that transition happen?” Colbert asked. “How do you go from being such a passionate opponent on such bedrock principles for you, and now you guys seem to be pals?”
Throughout the course of the question, Harris looked stunned.
“It was a debate,” she replied, laughing.
“Not everybody landed punches like you did though,” he said.
“It was a debate!” she said again, laughing.
“So you don’t mean it?” he asked.
“It was a debate!” she said again, still laughing. “That was the whole reason – literally, it was a debate. It was called a debate. Everyone traveled to the debate. There were journalists there covering the debate, where there would be a debate.”
The awkward laughing that Harris does makes it clear she’s uncomfortable with the question. She knows she went after Biden hard and it didn’t pay off. Now she’s having to suddenly look the other way on things she said were a big issue. It’s why progressives are upset. They weren’t happy to have Biden as a pick anyway but now they feel like Harris a bad choice because she’s “pro-cop.”
If Kamala wants to be in the hot seat she needs to be prepared for these kinds of questions. The debate exchange above is one of the most rememberable arguments during the debate series. Biden’s campaign should have had her prepped for answers and explanations to this question. It’s PR 101. Having her laugh uncontrollably and say “it was a debate!” isn’t an answer.