Biden Dismisses Doubts on His Black Support: 'You Know Better. You Know Better.'




  • In Politics
  • 2020-01-21 20:00:05Z
  • By The New York Times
Election 2020 Joe Biden
Election 2020 Joe Biden  

DES MOINES - Joe Biden was fresh off campaigning in the warm embrace of South Carolina, where the former vice president has held a commanding lead in the polls, when a pointed question in icy, politically competitive Iowa put him on the defensive.

"Why is Sen. Sanders leading you with black voters under the age of 35?" Antonia Hylton, a reporter for Vice News, asked at a presidential forum hosted by her outlet on Monday.

"He is not leading me, black voters, under the age of - look, just all I know is, I am leading everybody, combined, with black voters," Biden responded, engaging in some of the hyperbole he often disavows.

Some audience members gathered at an events center here laughed. Biden did not.

"No, I'm serious!" Biden said. He leaned in toward Hylton. "Wait, wait, wait, wait. Let's get this straight. Name me anybody who has remotely close to the support I have in the African American community nationally."

Biden's forceful - and somewhat exaggerated - remarks, made at an event focused on voters of color, reflected the intensifying competition between Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont here in the leadoff caucus state, as well as the importance of substantial African American support to Biden's campaign. In fact, in some polls Sanders does hold an advantage among younger African American voters, and, while Biden maintains a significant lead among black voters overall, the margin varies from survey to survey and has tightened in some polls.

Biden's fate in Iowa remains uncertain amid a fluid race less than two weeks before the caucuses, but he has always been sure of his strength in the states with larger black populations that vote after Iowa and New Hampshire, especially South Carolina. And so, when Hylton suggested that his lead was slipping amid a Sanders rise, citing a Vice News poll, Biden protested vigorously.

"But he's way behind me," he said. "He's way behind."

Throughout the forum, Biden was stern, passionate and sometimes combative as he discussed his standing with black voters.

He fiercely asserted his ability to connect with African American people. ("I'm not saying, 'I am black,' he said. "But I want to tell you something. I have spent my whole career with the black community.") He described his empathy for black Americans and said he had "never, ever, ever, ever" taken their votes for granted, "not once." And he hinted at disdain for "especially young reporters" who, according to Biden, wonder why so many African Americans like him.

"They. Know. Me," he said firmly. "They know where my heart is."

After Hylton pressed Biden on his standing against Sanders, her co-moderator, Alzo Slade, jumped in to parse Biden's lead.

"Aw, yeah, come on, man," Biden, smiling this time, replied to Slade, who burst into laughter. "Give me a break."

"You know better," Biden said, pointing a finger at Slade. "You know better. You know better."

He ticked through a host of endorsements he has received from black officials.

"I mean," Biden said, "come on."

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


© 2020 The New York Times Company



COMMENTS

More Related News

Sanders is the projected winner in Nevada, and also trounced competitors with Latino and Hispanic caucus-goers
Sanders is the projected winner in Nevada, and also trounced competitors with Latino and Hispanic caucus-goers

Sen. Bernie Sanders wins Nevada, according to projections, heads to South Carolina as clear front runner

Sanders excoriates Russia after being briefed on attempts to help his presidential campaign
Sanders excoriates Russia after being briefed on attempts to help his presidential campaign

Trump, however, sneered at the suggestion the Kremlin is attempting to interfere again to aid his reelection effort.

Joe Biden Says He Was Arrested In South Africa Decades Ago
Joe Biden Says He Was Arrested In South Africa Decades Ago

But the presidential candidate doesn't seem to have publicly mentioned the incident before this month, The New York Times reports.

Bernie Sanders briefed by US officials that Russia is attempting to help his campaign
Bernie Sanders briefed by US officials that Russia is attempting to help his campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders was told by U.S. officials that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign, according to the Washington Post

Russia denies backing Trump re-election, critics express alarm
Russia denies backing Trump re-election, critics express alarm

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign to boost President Donald Trump's re-election chances following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week. U.S. intelligence

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics