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David Gergen Hits Biden for Angry Response to Criticism of Comments on Segregationists: Trying to ‘Have It Both Ways’

CNN’s David Gergen said former Vice President Joe Biden’s angry reaction to criticism of his recent comments about working with segregationists in the Senate feeds the perception that “he’s trying to have it both ways.”

Biden fired back on Wednesday after numerous 2020 rivals criticized him, including Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who called on the former vice president to issue an “immediate apology” for comments that somewhat breezily discussed past Congressional cooperation with a known segregationist and white supremacist, Democratic Senator James O. Eastland. “You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,'” Booker’s campaign said in a press release.

Unbowed, Biden instead called on Booker to apologize and touted a long record of fighting for civil rights. “There is not a racist bone in my body,” Biden shot back. “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career, period. Period. Period.”

John Berman, guest hosting for Anderson Cooper, asked Gergen if Biden’s defensive response was indicative of a candidate who is out of step with the modern Democratic Party.

“This is about people he knew and worked with in the 1970s before some of the Democratic presidential candidates were born,” Berman noted. “The other side of this is that Joe Biden wants to lean on his experience. He wants to lean on his ability to reach across the aisle, although in this case he was dealing with Democrats.”

“I don’t think you can have it both ways,” Gergen responded. “I understand why he wants to celebrate his experience but he’s going to turn it into a liability if he keeps talking this way.

“The real issue here is that he seems to be looking at the world through a lens that was created back in the early 1990s and so he interprets things in a different way than what most other people do, especially younger people do today,” Gergen continued. “It may well be that working with a couple of segregationists got bills passed. But a lot of young people today don’t think you ought to celebrate that. You shouldn’t celebrate segregationists. You should oppose them and I think he missed that, he missed that in his comments.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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