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JOE BIDEN · Published 5 hours ago

Biden, in 1992, touted crime bill does ‘everything but


hang people for jaywalking’
By Adam Shaw | Fox News

Biden not apologizing for remarks on segregationist senators after being hit by 2020 rivals
The 2020 Democrat frontrunner is defending remarks he made on working with segregationist senators in Congress after coming under re from
Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris; Peter Doocy reports.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing renewed scrutiny about his stance on the death penalty
amid a re-surfaced video from the '90s in which he boasted that sweeping crime legislation he
helped write did “everything but hang people for jaywalking.”
The 2020 presidential hopeful is struggling to thread the needle between embracing his decades-
long experience in the Senate, where he gained a reputation as a centrist Democrat, and connecting
with a party base that has moved increasingly left on numerous issues including law and order.

BIDEN, UNDER FIRE FOR COMMENTS ON SEGREGATIONISTS, GAVE EULOGIES FOR STROM
THURMOND, ROBERT BYRD

On top of controversial remarks this week over his past work with segregationist senators,
comments talking up the 1994 crime bill risk exposing the primary front-runner as out of step with
modern-day Democrats.

In the 1992 remarks, Biden was trying to battle accusations that the bill was “weak” on crime.

“Let me tell you what is in the bill, and I’ll let you all decide whether or not this is ‘weak,’” he said.

“It provides 53 death penalty offenses, as weak as can be, you know? We do everything but hang
people for jaywalking in this bill -- that’s weak stuff,” he said sarcastically.

The video was published online by the Republican National Committee, which is eager to stoke a
bruising Democratic primary battle.

FLASHBACK: In 1992, Biden Said His Crime Bill Would Do Everything But Han…
Han…
The clip speaks to yet another policy position where Biden may be shifting.

Amid widespread rejection of the death penalty by other 2020 primary candidates and criticism over
the 1994 crime bill, Biden this month appeared to soften his stance on the death penalty. Politico
reports that in New Hampshire this month, while defending the crime bill, he advocated for criminal
justice reforms and highlighted his work during the Obama administration to cut the federal prison
population.

“By the way, congratulations to ya’ll for ending the death penalty here,” he added.

Politico notes that as recently as 2000, Biden said that “I support the death penalty” but added
that “you had better go out of your way to make sure you don’t execute an innocent person.”

Biden could face pressure to modify his stance further amid a primary eld packed with candidates
calling to abolish the death penalty, give the vote to felons, and shorten prison sentences as part of
criminal justice reform.

BIDEN DEFIANT AS RIVALS SLAM REMARKS ON SEGREGATIONISTS: 'APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT?'

Biden already has faced criticism as he changed his stance on the Hyde Amendment that prevents
federal funds being used for abortions.
And this week, he faced a restorm over comments he made about being able to work with
segregationist Democrats and get “things done,” as he warned fellow Democrats about the
importance of working with people with whom they disagree.

He brushed off calls from other 2020 hopefuls for him to apologize, saying there's “not a racist bone
in my body.”

That has, in turn, brought renewed attention to his 2003 eulogy for Strom Thurmond, the former
South Carolina senator and “Dixiecrat” presidential candidate who supported segregation.

In the eulogy more than 15 years ago for Thurmond, who later became a Republican, Biden said that
while their “differences were profound,” he got to know him and “watched him change, oh so subtly.”

“I went to the Senate emboldened, angered and outraged at age 29 about the treatment of African-
Americans in this country, about everything for a period in his life Strom represented. But then I met
the man,” Biden said at the time.

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Biden will travel to South Carolina on Friday to make appeals to African-Americans. He is scheduled
to meet with black leaders behind closed doors.

Then on Saturday, he will speak to abortion rights activists at a Planned Parenthood forum, where
he is likely to clarify his switching stances on the Hyde Amendment.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for


Fox News.. He can be reached here.

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