Former Vice President Joe Biden said that he "wasn't prepared" for Sen. Kamala Harris to attack him on his record on busing in the first Democratic debate last week. Biden said he wasn't prepared for "the way she came at me" in an interview with "New Day" on CNN Friday morning.
"I was prepared for them to come after me but I wasn't prepared for the person who came at me the way she came at me," Biden said. "She knows Beau, she knows me."
Biden's son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, served as Delaware's attorney general at the same time that Harris was serving as California's attorney general.
In the debate last Thursday, Harris confronted Biden over his relationship with segregationists during his time in the Senate, and his opposition to federally-imposed busing in the 1970s. Biden has had to defend that position, saying that he supported busing in response to de jure segregation -- that is, segregation imposed by law.
"If the court ruled or there was a law passed or a circumstance that a county a city or a state did that prevented black folks from being somewhere, then that is wrong and you should bus," Biden told CNN. "I even went so far, in the middle of that busing controversy, as saying use helicopters if that was necessary to make the point."
Biden noted that the Obama administration provided funds for voluntary busing to individual cities. He also argued that he did not have enough time on the debate stage to fully explain his position on busing.
In anlast Friday, Harris responded to criticism from Biden's camp that the contentious moment was a "low blow."
"It was about just speaking truth and as I've said many times, I have a great deal of respect for Joe Biden...but he and I disagree on that," Harris said.
She added, "My purpose was to really just make sure that in this conversation we are appreciating the impact on real people of policies that have been pushed in the history of our country."