President Joe Biden vented on a fellow candidate after getting stung by now-Vice President Kamala Harris during a 2019 Democratic primary debate.
“That was some f—ing bullshit,” Biden said, according to Politico Magazine.
The assertion comes on the heels of a New York Times article on Biden’s behind-the-scenes behavior, which included profanity-laced temper tantrums directed at those around him, according to sources.
“President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have appeared so in lockstep that it’s hard to remember how tense their early campaign days were,” wrote Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere.
Harkening back to the second night of the first Democratic debate, in Miami, Dovere noted that Biden was “a teetering frontrunner” taking heat for “talking about the old days in the Senate working with segregationists.”
The other candidates realized that the only path to a nomination went through Biden and by luck of the draw, Harris found herself in the position to take him on in Miami.
Dovere said Harris was “on the cusp of being a superstar” at that point, noting that it was more style than substance. She would hit Biden for his position on busing back in the 70s, all but calling him a racist while tying her line of attack to a little girl who had needed to be bused herself.
“I’m going to now direct this at Vice President Biden: I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” Harris began. “But I also believe, and it’s personal — it was 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. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day.”
“And that little girl was me,” Harris said, this being perhaps her only shining moment in the Democratic primary.
According to Dovere, when NBC went to a commercial break shortly thereafter, Biden reportedly vented to his now Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg:
Biden, taken aback, plodded through a response. She was mischaracterizing his position, he said. That’s not what he stood for, and she knew that. He found his way to the end of the answer and stopped speaking.
A few minutes later, the moderators paused for a commercial break. Biden leaned over to Pete Buttigieg, at the podium to his right. They barely knew each other, but Biden was looking for someone to share the moment with.
“Well,” he said, according to multiple people to whom the conversation was relayed afterward. “That was some f—ing bullshit.”
The exchange between Biden and Harris is seen below, though the private exchange with Buttigieg, who Biden did not know well, was not captured on camera.
As for Biden’s alleged penchant for profanity, an accounting of now-first lady Jill Biden’s response may shed a little light here.
Describing Jill Biden as “the guardian of the Biden honor, the Biden id,” Dovere aid she “couldn’t bear to watch a woman who called herself a friend of her son’s… try to tear her husband down, to score a point at a debate.”
He recounted her words a week later to close supporters during a phone call.
“With what he cares about, what he fights for, what he’s committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis?” Jill reportedly said. “Go f— yourself.”
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