Biden Fires Back at Booker on Crime Record: Campaign Update
(Bloomberg) -- Vice President Joe Biden parried criticism of his criminal justice record from Cory Booker, saying that his Democratic presidential rival had been responsible for controversial law-and-order policies while mayor of Newark, New Jersey.“His police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African American men,” Biden told reporters in Dearborn, Michigan, on Wednesday. “If he wants to go back and talk about records I’m happy to do that but I’d rather talk about the future.”Earlier Wednesday, Booker repeated a charge that Biden had been “an architect of mass incarceration” because of his role in crafting a 1994 tough-on-crime bill as a senator. Booker, who is African American, served as mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.Biden said he was eager to take on Booker when the two candidates share the stage for the first time at the second Democratic debate next week. “I’m happy to debate with anybody the effects of the things that I did as a United States senator, as I did as a vice president in terms of dealing with the criminal justice system and dealing fairly with people across the board.”Weld Warns GOP Could Become ‘Party of Racism’Bill Weld, who is mounting a long-shot effort to wrest the 2020 Republican nomination from President Donald Trump, said the GOP could soon be seen as “the party of racism.”“Unless the national Republican Party in Washington expressly, expressly rejects the racism of Donald Trump, it will become universally viewed as the party of racism in America,” Weld said at a presidential town hall hosted by the NAACP in Detroit.Trump has overwhelming support among Republican voters and is likely to coast to renomination. In an average of polls by RealClearPolitics, the president beats Weld by about 72 percentage points.Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, said it was “not a political choice” for the party but rather “a moral choice.” -- Sahil KapurTrump Fundraising Email Cites Mueller TestimonyPresident Donald Trump’s re-election effort is using former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance before Congress to try to raise $2 million in 24 hours.The Trump Make America Great Committee sent a fundraising email as Mueller was testifying Wednesday, asking for contributions to “CRUSH our goal and send a powerful message to the entire nation that this WITCH HUNT must end.”Mueller is testifying “right now, and the Democrats and Corrupt Media are going to pull out all the stops to try and TRICK the American People into believing their LIES,” the email, signed by Trump, said. “How many times do I have to be exonerated before they stop?”Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asked Mueller at the beginning of the hearing about Trump’s repeated assertions that the special counsel’s report exonerated him. “That is not what the report said,” Mueller said. -- Mark NiquetteBooker Takes Another Swipe at Biden’s Crime PlanCory Booker on Wednesday took another swipe at Joe Biden, saying his presidential rival had been “an architect of mass incarceration” while serving in the Senate two decades ago.“I’m disappointed that it’s taken Joe Biden years and years until he was running for president to actually say that he made a mistake, that there were things in that bill that were extraordinarily bad,” Booker told reporters during the NAACP National Convention in Detroit, where 11 presidential candidates, including front-runner Biden, were scheduled to speak.Booker, an African American senator from New Jersey, made the comments one day after Biden released a criminal justice proposal that would reverse several key elements of a tough-on-crime bill that he helped pass in 1994. That measure has been criticized by Booker and other candidates for contributing to the disproportionate imprisonment of minorities.Biden has recently lost some ground with black voters, though he retains a strong lead. Booker and other contenders are eager to further cut into his support from a constituency that is crucial to winning the presidential nomination. -- Misyrlena EgkolfopoulouO’Rourke Education Plan Aims at Racial GapsDemocratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourkereleased a $500 billion plan Wednesday he said would close racial and income-based funding gaps in the U.S. education system.The former Texas representative said in a statement the proposal would also ban corporal punishment in schools, invest in “restorative justice” and educate teachers to address bias.“The effects of a system where students of color are disciplined at alarmingly higher rates than white students, where funding favors white school districts over nonwhite districts, or where white teachers far outnumber black teachers live on well beyond students leaving the classroom,” he said in the statement.O’Rourke is among the 11 Democratic candidates who will speak Wednesday at NAACP’s Presidential Candidates Forum in Detroit, as they compete for the support of African Americans, who account for 20% of the party’s voters and are crucial to winning the presidential nomination. -- Terrence DoppCandidates Vie for Black Vote at NAACP ForumThe leading Democratic candidates will make their case to the NAACP National Convention on Wednesday, as they compete for a voting bloc that accounts for 20% of the party’s voters and is crucial to winning the presidential nomination.The event in Detroit will feature 11 of the two dozen contenders, including the race’s top tier: former Vice President Joe Biden, along with Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris. Biden, the front-runner, has recently lost some ground with black voters, though he retains a strong lead. The other candidates are likely to use the forum to try to further cut into that support.Several candidates have recently released policy proposals on issues of particular concern to African Americans. On Tuesday, Biden unveiled a criminal justice proposal that reversed several key elements of a tough-on-crime bill that he helped pass in 1994 as a senator from Delaware. The measure has been criticized for contributing to the mass incarceration of minorities.Biden’s backing among black voters dropped sharply after a heated exchange in the first candidate debate in Miami last month when Harris grabbed the spotlight by criticizing his past positions on racial issues, including his stance on busing and his comments about working with segregationist senators earlier in his career.The NAACP forum could be a warm-up for a more direct confrontation for Biden at the second round of debates in Detroit next week, when he will be on stage with Harris and Senator Cory Booker, who are both black.The NAACP event Wednesday will also include Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, John Delaney and Bill Weld. -- Misyrlena EgkolfopoulouHere’s What Happened on Tuesday:Warren introduced her student loan relief plan as a bill in the Senate, proposing to eliminate as much as $50,000 of student loan debt for borrowers making less than $100,000 a year. Higher-income borrowers would also get some benefit, with those making $100,000 to $250,000 getting one-third of their loans canceled. Warren said 95% of student loan borrowers would get at least some of their loans forgiven. Warren has proposed a wealth tax to pay for the measure.Coming Up This Week:Biden, Booker, Delaney, Klobuchar and Tim Ryan appear at a forum at the National Urban League Conference in Indianapolis on Thursday.Kirsten Gillibrand and Harris appear on Friday.\--With assistance from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Terrence Dopp, Mark Niquette and Sahil Kapur.To contact the reporter on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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