Harris claimed it was a case of a “top-tier candidate” being attacked by someone at “zero or 1 percent.”
During Wednesday's second Democratic debate in Detroit, Gabbard slammed Harris' controversial record as California’s attorney general, which included extensive prosecution of marijuana users -- even though Harris laughed about having consumed the drug herself in a recent radio interview.
“Sen. Harris says she's proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she'll be a prosecutor president, but I'm deeply concerned about this record,” Gabbard said. “There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
“There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
She also blasted Harris for maintaining the cash bail system which, she argued, disproportionately hurt poor people. Gabbard accused Harris of keeping prisoners beyond their sentence in order to use them as "cheap labor" as well as blocking evidence that would have "freed an innocent man from death row."
Harris later dismissed the attack after the debate during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“I'm obviously a top-tier candidate, and so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight, because there are a lot of people who trying to make the stage for the next debate,” Harris said.
“I did expect that I would ... take hits tonight, because there are a lot of people who trying to make the stage for the next debate ... especially when people are at zero or 1 percent, or whatever she might be at.”
“For a lot of them, it's do or die,” Cooper added.
“Well, yeah, and especially when people are at zero or 1 percent, or whatever she might be at, and so I did expect I might take hits tonight,” Harris said.
Harris went on offense against Gabbard, who also recently said Harris is unqualified to be commander-in-chief, saying Gabbard was an “apologist” for Syria's Bashar al-Assad, referring to her meeting with the dictator and previous claims that he’s not an enemy of the U.S.
“I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously,” Harris said.
Gabbard, meanwhile, said “that’s not what this is about” after being asked to respond to Harris’ attacks on Wednesday and whether she thinks Assad is a “murderer.”