On the second night of the second Democratic primary debate, Joe Biden was center stage, and took the brunt of challenger attacks. Biden was prepped.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden, the former vice president and current front-runner in the sprawling Democratic primary field of more than 20 candidates, asked a curious question of New Hampshire voters at Dartmouth College on Friday: What if Barack Obama had been assassinated?
During a discussionÂ of mental health and school shootings at a health care town hall in Hanover, the former VP turnedÂ to his collegiate days, and spoke of the assassinations of his â€œpolitical heroes,â€ Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated within weeks of each other.Â
Biden said, “My senior semester, they were both shot and killed. Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, if Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee. What would’ve happened in America?”Â
The startling question cameÂ a day after Biden posted on Twitter posted about when Obama asked him to become his running mate in 2008. The 76-year-old served as Obamaâ€™s vice president for the entirety of Obama’s time in the Oval Office from 2009-2017.
Only three days earlier at an event in Iowa, Biden initially misspoke, saying that Kennedy and King had been shot â€œin the late 1970â€™sâ€ instead of 1968.Â
Of Biden’s New Hampshire comments Friday, the New York Times reports he was trying to make a point about becoming politically aware and motivated in the turbulent times of theÂ 1960s and 1970s, discussingÂ the deadly Kent State shootings during a Vietnam War protest in 1970.Â He successfully ran for Senate in 1972 when he wasÂ 29 years old.Â
Biden also said Friday he was accused of being gay decades ago because he supported women’s rights, referring to the Equal Rights Amendment.
“An entire generation was energized. We finally finished the Voting Rights Act. We finally got the Civil Rights Act back on the road. We finally were in a position where we started to begin the womenâ€™s movement, and began to treat women â€” I remember because I was such a big supporter of the E.R.A. in 1972, quote â€” to show you how things have changed, thank God â€” ‘Well, you know why Biden is for the E.R.A., heâ€™s probably gay.’ Not a joke,” Biden recalled.
During a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., on Monday, Dr. Jill Biden, Biden’s wife and the former second lady, said that Democrats should vote in the upcoming primaries and caucuses for who will ultimately beat President Donald Trump even if they don’t agree fully with all of Joe Biden’s policy stances.
â€œI know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that,â€ she said. â€œBut I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and whoâ€™s going to win this race.â€
Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination for president for a third time after two failed runs in 1988 and 2008.Â
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