Former vice president and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden clashed with the moderator at the LGBTQ presidential forum in Iowa Friday night. He sarcastically told the moderator “you’re a lovely person” and repeatedly told her she was wrong concerning a criticism of the 1994 crime bill.
“It did increase incarceration rates,” moderator Lyz Lenz said, citing a Politifact fact check.
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“No it didn’t, but go ahead,” Biden told her, before later adding the comment about her being a “lovely person.”
“In 1994 you supported legislation that increased incarceration rates and promoted more aggressive policing policies and tactics. And laws like this disproportionately affect LGBTQ people of color,” Lenz said.
“So I want to know, how do you assure the American public that you won’t once again support increased incarceration, and as president, will you support legislation prohibiting enforcement from targeting LGBTQ people?”
“Yes, I absolutely will but let’s get something straight. You’re wrong about the act,” Biden responded. “That act was overwhelmingly supported by the African-American community, overwhelmingly supported by the community at large, everyone from Ted Kennedy on voted for it. It did not have mandatories in it. That’s not what it was about.”
“I will say the increased incarceration rates thing was fact-checked, I believe on Politifact. It did increase incarceration rates,” Lenz said after Biden finished his answer.
“No it didn’t, but go ahead,” Biden responded, prompting a reaction from the audience. He continued to defend his vote on the bill.
“Let’s talk about other legislation because in 1994 you did vote for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In 1996, you voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. You did vote to repeal both of those, but you have also praised Vice President Mike Pence as a ‘decent guy,'” Lenz said, which drew boos from the audience.
“You’re a lovely person,” Biden responded.
“Just asking the questions that people want to know,” Lenz said, provoking a loud cheer.
“All right, fire away,” Biden said.
Right after the session, Lenz tweeted that Biden told her, “You’re a real sweetheart” as he walked off the stage.
— Lyz Lenz (@lyzl) September 21, 2019
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