Biden (Almost) Steps In It Again

By Nitya

Dec 31, 2007 7:35am

ABC News’ Brian Wheeler reports: Democratic Senator Joe Biden’s misstep at the onset of his presidential campaign with regard to Senator Barack Obama’s race is absurdly well-chronicled (you should recall of course he called Barack Obama "clean"). He might have come close again.

Biden frequently uses the civil rights era as a springboard for telling crowds about why he became a Democrat. At a Sunday event in Mason City, IA, Biden said Obama was "a real superstar. A person who makes me realize why I got involved in politics in the first place. I’ve spent probably as much time in the African-American community as Barack has."

Senator Biden went on to tell the crowd how when he returned to Delaware from Syracuse Law School in 1968, parts of Wilmington had been "burned to the ground" following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After a brief stint at a "white shoe law firm" Biden quit to become a public defender, in part because of the disenfranchisement of African-Americans in his home state.

Obama himself has attempted to put this storyline to bed, saying at the Des Moines Register debate, "I’ve worked with Joe Biden, I’ve seen his leadership, I have absolutely no doubt about what is in his heart and the commitment that he’s made with respect to racial equality in this country. So I will provide some testimony, as they say in church, that Joe is on the right side of the issues and is fighting every day for a better America."

Given Biden’s penchant for rhetorical flourish, to put it mildly, we’ll likely be writing this story again, even if his Senate colleague seems hardly affected by it.

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