Jill Biden defends husband from Kamala Harris: Can't say 'that he's a racist'

Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, adamantly defended her husband in the wake of criticism from Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during the first Democratic primary debate -- arguing that he was definitely not racist.

"The one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist," she said during a CNN interview aired on Monday evening. “He got into politics because of his commitment to civil rights, and then to be elected with [former President] Barack Obama and then someone is saying, you know 'you're a racist.'"

CNN's Cuomo pointed out that Harris didn't call Biden a racist, something his wife acknowledged.

Her comments came after her husband faced declining poll numbers in the aftermath of June's Democratic debate. Harris, on the other hand, saw a bump in the polls after she took the former vice president to task over his position on busing and his decision to tout work he did with segregationist senators.

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“I think the American people know Joe Biden. They know his values. They know what he stands for, and they didn’t buy it,” Biden said while appearing on CNN. On Saturday, the 2020 Democratic frontrunner expressed regret over his comments about segregationist senators and apologized for the pain he might have caused with his statements.

Harris, in response, praised Biden's "courage" in apologizing but noted that the two still had "plenty of disagreement."

Both Bidens were surprised to see Harris lodge her attack during the debate. “I was prepared for them to come after me, but I wasn’t prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me. She knew Beau [Biden] and she knows me,” the former vice president said during another interview.

He also dismissed concerns about losing support among black voters, boasting various endorsements from black elected officials and lawmakers and arguing that "people know who I am."

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For his wife, Harris' criticism was the most surprising part of the 2020 race. She previously defended her husband amid allegations that he inappropriately touched other women -- saying that he had taken responsibility for the way he interacted with them.

Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.