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Sen. Kamala Harris said Friday “at some point you have to draw the line” following a tense exchange during the Democratic debate in reference to Former Vice President Joe Biden’s comments touting his experience working with segregationist senators.
Harris said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that while “of course” you have to work with politicians across the aisle to pass legislation, Biden’s previous comments referring to his work with segregationists was “hurtful.”
“There are no segregationists in the United States Senate today, thank God. I think that at some point you have to draw the line,” she said. “And for those people who are saying that they believe that the races should not commingle, and on the heels of a history of extreme pain and damage, not to mention death, you’ve got to draw the line.”
Harris said that while she was not saying Biden should not have worked with the segregationist senators, “I’m saying that the characterization and the nostalgia about who they were, I find to be misplaced and it was hurtful to me to hear that we would be nostalgic who if they had their way I would not serve in the United States Senate.”
Harris grilled Biden in a heated exchange on the Democratic debate stage Thursday night over his working with segregationist senators “to oppose busing.”
The comments come after Biden was criticized for boasting about his ability to form relationships in the past with segregationist former Sens. James Eastland, D-Miss., and Herman Talmadge, D-Ga.
Harris again said the comments were “hurtful” and told the story of a little girl who was part of a wave of children bused to integrate California schools, ending with, “That little girl was me.”
Biden said Harris had “mischaracterized” his position “across the board.” He added he did “not oppose busing in America,’ but said he opposed busing mandated by the federal government, not locally imposed busing.
On Thursday, Harris said she and Biden “have a difference on opinion on states’ rights.”
“I was actually a bit surprised to hear how he described, in defense of his position, his perspective on the role of federal government,” she said. “Which is why I said look we have so many examples in history where states have limited or restricted people’s civil rights .”