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Joe Biden apologizes for fondly remembering working with segregationists in Congress

Business Insider | Jul 7, 2019, 05.05AM IST

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Getty Images/Sean Rayford

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses a crowd at the Hyatt Park community center on May 4, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.

At a campaign stop in Sumter, South Carolina, on Saturday, former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic primary candidate Joe Biden apologized for his recent remarks about working with segregationists in his career as a senator. 

Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Epstein tweeted Biden's apology, which began "Was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again? Yes, I was, I regret it."

"I'm sorry for the pain and misconception I may have caused anybody," Biden continued on to say, Epstein tweeted. "But should that misstep define 50 years of my record for fighting for civil rights, racial justice in this country? I hope not, I don't think so. That just isn't an honest assessment of my record."

Epstein said Biden received applause from the mostly black audience in South Carolina for his apology. 

Read more: Joe Biden sees his long career in politics as his biggest advantage. His 2020 opponents want to use it against him.

Biden's initial remarks at a donor event in June came while he reminisced about his willingness to work with now-deceased "Dixiecrat" Democratic Sens. Herman Talmadge and James Eastland in the 1970s.

"At least there was some civility," Biden said. We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished."

Biden received backlash from the comments from competitors like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who challenged him on his record on race in media appearances and during the second night of the Democratic primary debates.

Biden has repeatedly defended his record, noting that he is not racist and has done work throughout his career to advance civil rights. 

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