Biden: I wasn't ready for Kamala Harris to attack me that way

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By Jane C. Timm  with NBC News Politics
Image:  Joe Biden
Joe Biden speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in Miami, Florida, omn June 27, 2019.   -   Copyright  Mike Segar Reuters

Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his record and his recent debate performance in a CNN interview Friday, saying he wasn't prepared for the way Sen. Kamala Harris attacked him in the Democratic debate.

"I was prepared for them to come after me," Biden said in a one-on-one interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo. "But I wasn't prepared for the person coming after me the way she came after me. She knew Beau, she knows me," the former vice president said, referring to his deceased son, Beau Biden.

In the interview, Biden said his record was "taken out of context" during the debate.

He said he supported voluntary school busing and busing when a court proved that there were actions taken to segregate schools, but that he opposed busing when it was mandated by "unelected" officials.

"Busing did not work," he said. "You had overwhelming response from the African American community in my state…they did not support it."

As to the need to clarify his record, Biden criticized the time constraints and sparring during the debate.

"What I didn't want to do was get into that scrum," he said.