The Kamala Harris presidential campaign is selling “That Little Girl Was Me” t-shirts Friday in an effort to take advantage of a confrontation between Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden during Thursday night’s Democratic debate.
California Democratic Sen. Harris knocked Biden off his political feet when she suddenly ripped into his complicated civil rights history, one that includes opposition to forced busing to integrate schools and that recently featured Biden joking about his relationship with “two United States senators who built their reputation and career on the segregation of race in this country,” as Harris described it during the debate.
Biden recently talked about his ability to get along with southern, segregationist Democrats in the early 1970s when Biden was a newcomer to the Senate. Other Democratic lawmakers, from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have criticized those comments. (RELATED: Biden And Harris Clock In With Most Speaking Time During Debate)
Harris made the issue of school busing extremely personal as she appeared to be approaching tears.
“It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,” Harris recalled. “That little girl was me.”
The Harris campaign wasted no tine in using the exchange for political gain, quickly tweeting out a picture of Harris as a young girl looking defiant. Under the photograph are the words, “There was a little girl in California who was bussed to school. That little girl was me. #DemDebate.”
There was a little girl in California who was bussed to school. That little girl was me. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/XKm2xP1MDH
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2019
It wasn’t long before the picture was emblazoned on unisex black t-shirts that Harris fans could purchase from $29.99-$32.99.
Biden did attempt to fight back, repeatedly saying that he was inspired to enter politics because of civil rights and that “I do not praise racists.” (RELATED: Joe Biden Has Endorsed Segregation, Calling It ‘Black Pride’)
He also said that prior to being a senator he had labored on behalf of those locked-up in prison — unlike Harris who was a district attorney and state attorney general who sent people to jail.
“I was a public defender. I didn’t become a prosecutor. I left a good firm to become a public defender. When in fact my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King,” Biden said.
Biden remains well ahead in the polls of everyone else currently running for the Democratic presidential nomination. But although Biden has referred to himself as the “most progressive” Democrat running for president, he has supported many conservative policies throughout his long political career, including support for traditional marriage and the 1994 “three strikes” crime bill that he authored.