Joe Biden under fire over comments about racist senators

The stage for a debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in September 2016 at Hofstra University in Hempstead N.Y

The stage for a debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in September 2016 at Hofstra University in Hempstead N.Y

"Biden's comments caused an uproar, with many wondering why he chose to highlight his relationships with known segregationists instead of less-controversial Republicans".

But the letters show that Biden's friendship with Eastland began in 1972, before he had taken office, and that he wrote to him listing his top six committee assignment requests, with Foreign Relations and Judiciary at the top.

Part of that overall Democratic strategy may not become clear until they have settled on a nominee - which is still likely months away. Welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

Biden cited his friendship with Southern senators James O. Eastland and Herman E. Talmadge, two white supremacist segregationists, as proof of his ability to build consensus. According to the Express description, the tweet defends "the former vice president's comments about bipartisanship and "civility" in working with late senators James Eastland, R-Miss., and Herman Talmadge, R-Ga".

In the midst of the controversy, Lemon on-air said he said Biden ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. In particular, they sought to excuse Biden for saying that Eastland didn't refer to him as "boy" - an insult leveled at black men - but as "son". But waxing nostalgic for the good old times, when racists and non-racists could work together sounds eerily close to the idea of there being "very fine people" on both sides of a white supremacist protest. What do you think? "We don't talk to each other anymore". The Senate two years earlier had passed a Biden amendment that prohibited the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare from ordering busing to achieve school integration.

Biden appeared to bristle when asked by reporters if he would apologize.

Biden has recently made headlines for comments about working with segregationists during his days in the U.S. Senate.

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On Wednesday, Biden called Booker. Biden pushed back, telling Booker that he should be the one to apologize because "he knows better". In addition to criticizing the "you're the enemy" attitude of our current politics, Biden added: "I know the new New Left tells me that I'm ― this is old-fashioned". Cory Booker, who said the former vice president should apologize for his remarks. That's where this coming from.

There is also a video of Biden campaigning for now-Senator Doug Jones in Alabama, and making remarks that were very similar to the ones for which Biden now finds himself in hot water.

On the other, more consequential hand, that same poll underscores why Trump is nearly certainly going to win reelection in 2020.

"I know the people that Vice President Biden worked with would not have wanted me in the Senate", he wrote.

"I have a lot of respect and gratitude for the vice president, and I want folks to know I have nothing to apologize for when it comes to speaking truth to power". And it just means that on issues of race, on issues of LGBTQ rights, on issues of gender equity - and he hasn't yet shown he's really able to surf those crosscurrents. They included House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., the highest-ranking African American in Congress. Explain why that might be. He basically said sometimes in Congress, one has to work with bad or down right racist folks to get things done. I am one of them.

"You don't have to agree with people to work with them", he said. James Eastland served as a Democratic senator from MS from 1943 to 1978, and Herman Talmadge as a Democratic senator from Georgia from 1957 to 1981. How much of this is simply a generational divide? "I just think he's going to have a hard time this election cycle catching up to where our society is politically". "We were divided on issues, but the political system worked". You wonder, why is that?

SIMMONS: Sure. And they're trying to find a way to relate, but it's kind of ham-handed.

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