‘That little girl was me’: Kamala Harris spars with Joe Biden at first Democratic debate

Check out the gallery above to see how people watching the Democratic debate reacted to Kamala Harris.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who challenged former Vice President Joe Biden on issues like immigration and school busing, was praised by many for her performance during the second night of the first Democratic debate.

Harris got personal with Biden and drew on her childhood growing up in Berkeley, sharing her experience being part of the second class of students who integrated public schools in the Berkeley Unified School District.

She shared the anecdote as part of a critique of Biden touting his work with segregationists in the 1970s and his refusal to support the Department of Education’s plan to support school busing to help public schools integrate.

“There was a little girl in California who was bussed to school. That little girl was me,” Harris said during her critique of Biden.

Biden said that Harris’ comments were a “mischaracterization of his positions across the board.”

“I did not praise racists. … If we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights or not, I’m happy to do that,” he said. “I was a public defender, I didn’t become a prosecutor.”

His reminder about his work as a public defender in Wilmington was a shot at Harris’ work as a district attorney and prosecutor.

Still, many who watched the exchange thought Harris scored several points for her statements directed at Biden on a night when she ran up a high tally of points.

Her first highlight of the night was when several candidates began crosstalk during the first hour of the debate. She interjected, “Americans don’t want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table” to rapturous applause.

“The barbershop erupts in applause and ‘You go girl!’ when #KamalaHarris says the audience doesn’t want a food fight but to learn how the candidates will help them put food on the table,” wrote Los Angeles Times reporter Tyrone Beason.

Later in the night, she was praised for her debate performance as she drew distinctions between herself and Biden over immigration and was applauded for using the word “her” when referencing who might be the next president.

“@SenKamalaHarris…handling things tonight! #DemDebate2,” wrote one person watching the debate along with a gif of Beyoncé Knowles saying “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”

“Kamala is rocking this question re: immigration. And she has practical responses and not just talking point. #DemDebate2,” wrote activist and writer DeRay McKesson.

“‘The microphone that the President holds in HER hand…’ by Kamala Harris got to me more than I expected. #DemDebate2,” wrote Internet personality Mrs. Betty Bowers.

Drew Costley is an SFGATE editorial assistant. Email: drew.costley@sfgate.com | Twitter: @drewcostley

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Kamala-Harris-spars-Joe-Biden-praised-14057491.php.

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