MIAMI (Reuters) – A day after coming beneath attack by fellow presidential candidate Kamala Harris in a debate, susceptible Vice President Joe Biden defended his legend on Friday, arguing that the fiery alternate did not replicate his “lifetime commitment to civil rights.”

Biden used to be addressing the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the African-American advocacy community basically based by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, in Chicago.

Earlier than learning his ready remarks, Biden paused to contend with Thursday’s blistering comments by Harris, a black U.S. senator from California, who criticized him for opposing vital college busing in the Seventies and for touting his cooperation with segregationists while he used to be a younger senator.

He told the crowd the debate format used to be insufficient for him to part his decades-long work to promote racial equality, including his time as vice-president to susceptible President Barack Obama.

“We all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on a marketing and marketing campaign debate alternate can’t develop justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights,” Biden said.

Biden used to be launched by Jackson, the longtime civil-rights chief and susceptible presidential candidate, who said Biden has “the stuff it takes to develop The USA better.”

All the device thru his remarks, Biden grew to change into to Jackson and said, “I do know and you already know I fought my heart out to make certain that civil, rights, and balloting rights, equal rights are enforced in every single procedure,” Biden said.

Biden disputed Harris’ competitors that he antagonistic busing, the educate of transporting college students to varsities within or originate air their college districts as a resolve for discrimination in the Seventies, announcing that he supported voluntary efforts for college districts to desegregate. And he reaffirmed his make stronger for the federal authorities’s vitality to contend with civil-rights abuses.

Harris’ attack – and Biden’s typically faltering response – used to be widely viewed as a probable early seminal occasion in the 2020 Democratic presidential contest, elevating Harris’ profile and probably wounding Biden’s affirm as the elope’s front-runner.

Biden had gone into the debate with a major polling lead over candidates reminiscent of U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, however his moderate legend fell beneath fire by Harris and varied candidates at Thursday’s debate.

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Harris’ marketing and marketing campaign on Friday rolled out a bevy of latest endorsements in key early balloting states reminiscent of Iowa, South Carolina and California.

Chatting with journalists originate air the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Friday, Harris said, “I feel we lined somewhat tons of considerations, and I’m having a ogle ahead to the following (debate).”

Asked if she thought Biden had responded adequately to her discussion of his comments on his work with segregationists, Harris said, “He said what he felt.”

Reporting by James Oliphant and Ginger Gibson in Miami; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Susan Thomas