Biden's resurfaced 2007 comments on Iowa, race, education spark backlash

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democrat in the 2020 White House race, is facing new pushback this week after a series of quotes from 2007 resurfaced online in which he said Iowa had better schools than Washington, D.C., while mentioning their differences in demographics.

"There's less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with," Biden told the Washington Post at the time.

"When you have children coming from dysfunctional homes, when you have children coming from homes where there's no books, where the mother from the time they're born doesn't talk to them -- as opposed to the mother in Iowa who's sitting out there and talks to them, the kid starts out with a 300 word larger vocabulary at age three. Half this education gap exists before the kid steps foot in the classroom."

Biden's campaign didn't respond to Fox News' request for comment. The campaign said in 2007: "This was not a race-based distinction, but a discussion of the problems kids face who don't have the same socio-economic support system (and all that implies--nutrition, pre K, etc.) entering grade school and the impact of those disadvantages on outcomes."

A CNN article about the Post report gained traction on social media this week.


One commenter wrote: “reporter: why are schools in iowa are better than DC? joe biden: lol black people of course”

One critic turned it into a poll so viewers could ask if Biden is or isn’t racist: “Iowa schools perform better than DC schools because Iowa has fewer black people. Black people neglect children & as a result the children develop slower. ⬇️ This is Joe Biden's 2007 idea on why 1 area's schools are better than another. #Biden2020 #Bernie2020 #Kamala2020 ⬇️”

Some turned it into a reason for sarcasm: “Why do students in Iowa do better than DC? Biden: There’s no Black people in Iowa duh (2007)”

Multiple past statements from Biden’s past have led to online backlash this year.


A resurfaced 2015 video showing him praising former Vice President Dick Cheney went viral online last week, sparking criticism from liberals.

“First of all, I really like Dick Cheney, for real. I get on with him, I think he's a decent man," Biden said in the October 2015 video at the "Walter Mondale: A Living Legacy" event held at George Washington University and sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration.