Biden defends his response to Kamala Harris busing question

California Attorney General Kamala Harris a candidate for the U.S. Senate speaks at the 29th annual California Hawaii State NAACP convention in Sacramento Calif. Friday Oct. 21 2016

California Attorney General Kamala Harris a candidate for the U.S. Senate speaks at the 29th annual California Hawaii State NAACP convention in Sacramento Calif. Friday Oct. 21 2016

Kamala Harris to confront him on issues of race the way she did at the first Democratic primary debate.

But earlier this week, she walked back her support of the program, arguing it is one of many "tools" for desegregation.

At the debate, she seemed to support federal intervention to force districts to utilize busing, and sharply criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for his record on the issue.

"That's where the federal government must step in", Harris said to Biden during the debate. During the 1970s and '80s, however, Biden actively worked against busing efforts and was an outspoken critic of the tactic.

"I was prepared for them to come after me, but I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me", he told CNN's Chris Cuomo in an interview that aired Friday.

"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.

When reporters asked Harris point blank whether she favors federally mandated busing, after a Democratic Party picnic Wednesday in West Des Moines, Iowa, she responded: "I think of busing as being in the toolbox of what is available and what can be used for the goal of desegregating America's schools", according to the Associated Press.

Biden's campaign took no time bashing Harris' comment.

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