Karl Rove: Kamala Harris' hit on Joe Biden over busing wasn't as clean as we thought

Fox News contributor Karl Rove said Wednesday that former Vice President Joe Biden was "smart" to issue an apology for his comments on working in the past with segregationist senators.

Biden delivered an apology Saturday to a mostly black audience of several hundred in Sumter, S.C.

“Was I wrong a few weeks ago? Yes, I was. I regret it, and I’m sorry for any of the pain of misconception that caused anybody.”

Rove said on "America's Newsroom" that Biden appears to have put the issue behind him and is still in a strong position in the polls after a forceful challenge from Sen. Kamala Harris at last month's Democratic debate.

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The former White House deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush argued that Harris, D-Calif., was trying to get in a "cheap shot" on Biden over his past opposition to forced busing.

"He got hammered in the debate, but then it turned out not to be as clean a hit as we thought," said Rove, noting that Harris' position on busing was essentially the same as Biden's.

"They're in favor of local busing. They're not in favor of the federal government dictating to local school districts whether they've got to bus or not."

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He went on to point out that Biden picked up valuable backing from influential African-American congressmen James Clyburn, D-S.C., and John Lewis, D-Ga., as well as the endorsement from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

"My sense is that probably has stabilized him some," said Rove, noting that the RealClearPolitics polling average gives Biden a 12-point lead on Harris, who's in a tight three-way race for second with Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.