Former Vice President Joe Biden stumbled at Wednesday night’s Democratic primary debate when he boasted that he had the support of “the only African-American woman who’s ever been elected to the United States Senate” — problem was, he wasn’t referring to Sen. Kamala Harris, who was standing right beside him.
“I have more people supporting me in the black community … because they know me, they know who I am, three former chairs of the black caucus, the only African-American woman that’d ever been elected to the United States Senate, a whole range of people,” Biden said.
But Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., interrupted the former vice president simultaneously.
“Nope,” Harris and Booker said. “That’s not true.”
Harris jumped back in to remind Biden: “The other one is here.”
Biden attempted to clean up the gaffe, by correcting himself and responding: “I said the first—I said the first.”
Biden meant he had the support of the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, referring to former Illinois Democratic Sen. Carol Mosely Braun.
Moments after the exchange, Harris tweeted: “Proud to be the second Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. #DemDebate.”
And Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders tweeted: “@JoeBiden is proud to have the support of Carol Moseley Braun the 1st African American woman elected to the Senate. And frankly he was proud to campaign for Sen. Harris who is the 2nd. He also knows only two Black women ever serving in the Senate is not enough!”
Harris and Biden have had tense exchanges several times during the 2020 presidential campaign. During the first Democratic primary debate in June, Harris told Biden she doesn’t believe he is a “racist” but considers his recent comments about being able to work with segregationist senators early in his career “hurtful.” Biden had said he disagreed with the senators on segregation but was still able to work with them in the Senate.