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- Former Vice President Joe Biden’s first words to Sen. Kamala Harris, as they took the stage for the second Democratic primary debate were, "Go easy on me, kid."
- The line was a likely reference to when Harris memorably excoriated Biden during the first debate for his record on race and his praise for two segregationist senators.
- Biden’s comment drew immediate criticism from those who suggested he was patronizing Harris.
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All eyes were on Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris as they took the stage for night two of the second Democratic primary debates on Wednesday.
As Harris walked out on stage after Biden during the introductions, the former vice president was heard saying, "Go easy on me, kid," to Harris.
The line was a likely reference to their memorable back-and-forth during the first primary debate last month, when Harris excoriated Biden for his record on race and bussing, as well as his praise for two segregationist senators.
Biden’s comment drew immediate criticism from those who suggested he was patronizing Harris.
The moment is also likely to draw further scrutiny given the controversy Biden’s faced over his behavior toward women both on and off the campaign trail.
Eight women have accused Biden of unwanted touching or invading their personal space in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. None of them said Biden’s behavior amounted to sexual harassment or assault.
Biden released a two-minute video after the initial allegations came out, but he was criticized for giving what critics deemed a "non-apology apology," in which he said he would try to do better moving forward. He later said he’s "not sorry for anything that I’ve ever done."
The Delaware Democrat was further criticized for repeatedly making light of the allegations, and for commenting on the physical appearance of those he’s met on the 2020 campaign trail in recent weeks.
Biden’s defenders on both the left and the right say he didn’t mean to offend anyone with his actions and that he prefers connecting with people on a personal level. But others say Biden’s apparent unwillingness to change his ways is evidence that he doesn’t understand how his actions have impacted people.
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