Harris praises Biden's 'courage' for apology, but says there is still 'plenty of disagreement'

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Sunday that while she was happy former Vice President Joe Biden apologized for his remarks about working in the past with segregationist lawmakers, she claimed there was “plenty of disagreement” between the two 2020 presidential hopefuls.

“He is right to recognize the impact of his words and I applaud him for doing that having the courage to do it,” Kamala said of Biden before a campaign stop in South Carolina. “There is still plenty of disagreement between he and I, and that remains.”

Harris added: “But, I applaud him for having the courage, at least as it relates to his comments about segregationists.”


Biden on Saturday apologized for his remarks, and said he did not mean to cause anybody any “pain.”

“I regret it and I'm sorry for any of the pain or misconception they may have caused anybody,” Biden said during a campaign event in South Carolina. Biden said he was “wrong” to “give the impression” that he was somehow praising segregationist senators.

Harris and Biden have been at odds with one another since the California lawmaker went after the former vice president on the debate stage in Miami almost two weeks ago for his earlier comments about being able to work with segregationist senators early in his career. Harris called the remarks “hurtful.”

Biden defended himself at the time, saying her comments about his record were a “mischaracterization of my position across the board,” and that he “did not praise racists.”

“I ran because of civil rights,” Biden said, noting that he worked as a public defender after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. “I continue to believe we need to make fundamental change.”

Harris’ grilling of Biden was not the only breakout moment of the first presidential debates but clearly boosted her campaign as she shot up in the polls following her performance to come within striking distance of the frontrunner, Biden.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Biden at 22 percent, down 8 points from the outfit's prior poll in June. Harris, meanwhile, soared from just 7 percent to 20 percent in the latest survey, putting her in a statistical tie with Biden. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren held steady at 14 percent while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders slipped 6 points to 13 percent.


Despite her gains, Harris still has lagged behind Biden when it comes to hypothetical match-ups against President Trump.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday found Biden faring the best against the president– beating Trump 55 to 41, with Harris, Warren and Sanders all snagging 51 percent to Trump’s 43, 44 and 45 percent respectively.

Harris’ campaign has also been plagued with questions over political experience, with critics mulling over her short stint in the Senate compared to Biden’s time as vice president and as a senator from Delaware.


Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Harris deflected the criticism – saying that voters would not choose a candidate just because of his or her past, but because of the candidate's plans for the future of the country.

“When it comes time to pull the lever and for people to actually vote in this presidential election they're going to make their decisions based,” Harris said, “not just on who we're associated with, but they're going to make their decisions based on the work we've done and, most importantly, our plan for the future of America.”

Fox News' Ben Florence, Paul Steinhauser and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.