Democratic debates: Joe Biden hits back at critics

Former Vice-President Joe Biden has come under attack from other Democratic 2020 candidates in a televised debate.

The party’s frontrunner shared a stage in Detroit with nine other presidential hopefuls and there were several sharp exchanges on healthcare and the border.

In an echo of the last debate in June, Senator Kamala Harris again launched an assault on Biden’s record on race.

But she herself had to defend her actions against drug offenders when she was a prosecutor in California.

“She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” said Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

All eyes were on Biden and Harris when they took the stage, given what happened last month.

And as the candidates were introduced ahead of the opening statements, they shared their first exchange of the night, with the former vice-president saying: “Go easy on me, kid.”

While Biden was criticised during his last debate appearance for being unprepared, he seemed better equipped to respond to the attacks on Wednesday(31) night.

It was the second of two nights of debates among Democrats vying to win the presidential nomination, which will be announced next July at the party’s convention.

Tuesday(30) night’s debate saw liberal senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defend their policies on health care and university tuition against criticism from more centrist candidates.

The presidential election will take place in November 2020. BBC