Joe Biden called busing a ‘liberal train wreck.’ Now his stance on school integration is an issue

Joe Biden called busing a ‘liberal train wreck.’ Now his stance on school integration is an issue
That was then. Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearing, 1991. C-SPAN video

[Ed. – The first major story I ever covered was a school busing controversy in a Hartford, Ct. suburb in 1966. Nobody wanted it. The whole experiment failed. Biden was right. –Brit Hume]

Joe Biden walked into a packed school gymnasium in Delaware in the 1970s, facing an angry crowd that urged him to take the toughest possible stance against school busing. As he later wrote in his autobiography, he heard people in the crowd say, “There he is. . . . Goddam Biden. . . . Kill the sonofabitch.” And these, he wrote, “were my voters — working-class Democrats.”

Fearing that the crowd would turn violent, Biden assured them he strongly opposed busing as a way to integrate schools. As long as schools weren’t deliberately ­imposing segregation, students shouldn’t be forced to attend school in a different part of town, Biden said.

The assurances worked, and Biden won reelection.

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Now the issue of busing — one of the most contentious of Biden’s long career — has resurfaced in a way that could threaten his presidential bid. At Thursday’s Democratic debate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) turned to Biden and accused him of opposing policies that allowed black children like her to attend integrated schools.

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