Joe Biden defends record on civil rights after debate fallout

Sen. Kamala Harris had questioned the former vice president about his opposition in the 1970s to federally-funded busing to integrate public schools.
2:56 | 06/28/19

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Transcript for Joe Biden defends record on civil rights after debate fallout
Mackenzie Lueck but had photos of her. Thank you. The shake-up in the race for 202. Early front-runner Joe Biden taking hits on stage from senator kamela Harris confronting him on civil rights early momentum in the race seeming to shift. Here is ABC's Mary Bruce. Reporter: Joe Biden came to Jesse Jackson's rainbow push coalition today looking for a do over. Before I start I'd like to say something about the debate we had last night. Reporter: He's talking about that defining moment from last night's debate, senator kamala Harris, confronting the former vice president for touting his ability to work with anyone, even segregationist senators. I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe, and it's personal, and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two united States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. Reporter: Harris then took on Biden's opposition in the 70s to federally ordered bussing to integrate public schools. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day, and that little girl was me. Reporter: Onstage, Biden forced to go on the defensive. It's a mischaracterization, my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true. Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose bussing in America then? Do you agree? I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing ordered by the department of education. That's what I opposed. Reporter: Today in Chicago, an attempt at cleanup. I heard and I listened to, and I respect senator Harris, but we all know that 30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can't do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights. I fought my heart out to ensure that civil rights, and voting rights, equal rights are enforced everywhere. All right, Mary Bruce joins us from Washington. Discussion not just about Joe bind's rough night and a strong showing for kamala Harris and tonight she is changing an answer on a key question? Reporter: Well, Tom, she raised her hand and supported a government plan. She misunderstood the question and tried to walk a back a bit. This is not the first time she had to do cleanup on the issue and tonight, her position is still murky. Tom. Thank you. President trump making global headlines during his

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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