Former Vice President Joe Biden seemed to zing some of the more progressive members of his party on Thursday, indicating his views were closer to those of Democratic voters.
"I think I represent the party. I think my views are where the vast majority of the Democratic Party are," he said when asked about some Dems' push to decriminalize illegal border crossings -- something he doesn't support.
His comments came just after his party's second primary debate this week, which included progressive candidates pillorying him over the Obama administration's mass deportations. Biden also attempted to defend himself as 2020 hopefuls attacked his comparatively moderate position on health care -- which included building on Obama's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.
Many 2020 Democrats have joined progressive newcomers in pushing for "Medicare-for-all," and for the ambitious environmental goals advanced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Biden himself endorsed Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal" after she dinged his campaign's push for a middle-of-the-road approach to climate change policy.
"There’s a lot of really, really good people who got elected who are really pushing the envelope, and it’s good, it’s healthy to do that," Biden told reporters on Thursday. "But the idea that they represent what the party is today does not comport with who gets elected, does not comport with how we won in ‘18 -- it does not comport. But it’s a totally legitimate debate to have."
Biden added that while the 2020 hopefuls were "so different," they should focus on those things that they can accomplish together. Each of them, he said, has a "fundamentally different view" than President Trump.
But as many in the media noted, Biden and Obama received a large portion of Wednesday's criticism, at the expense of more direct criticisms of Trump.
Wednesday's debate seemed to reflect longstanding intraparty tensions, which seem to have flared since the 2018 midterm elections. Since announcing his campaign for the White House, Biden has backed down from previous positions amid pressure from candidates who were perceived as more progressive options for 2020.
For example, Biden reversed his established stance on taxpayer funding for abortion amid an uproar from other 2020 Democrats. He also caught heat over his mention of how he previously worked cooperatively with segregationist senators in the spirit of compromise. After Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., attacked him on racial issues during their earlier debate weeks ago, he apologized for those remarks.