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Joe Biden once heaped praise on segregationist George Wallace, said Dems needed someone like him


Biden's past comments contradict the image he portrays today

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former vice president Joe Biden likes to tell people that he "came out of the civil rights movement," something that, if he runs for president in 2020, would likely be one of his primary points of emphasis.

But Biden will also have to answer for comments from his past about George Wallace, the racist, segregationist former Alabama governor who spent much of the late 1960s and early 1970s running for president as an advocate of "segregation now, segregation forever" (Wallace changed his views late in his life).

Back in 1975, Biden seemed to be a fan of Wallace's, according to the Washington Examiner.

"I think the Democratic Party could stand a liberal George Wallace—someone who's not afraid to stand up and offend people, someone who wouldn't pander but would say what the American people know in their gut is right," Biden said in an October 1975 interview with the Philadelphia Enquirer.

Biden also appeared to have an unfortunate habit of speaking quite differently when campaigning in southern states than he did in the north. The Detroit Free Press reported an example in an article titled "A candidate's integrity is again an issue:"

"For Biden, the problem is that he has presented inconsistent images of himself at different times and places.
At his press conference Thursday for example, Biden said he refused to join the Democratic Party in Delaware in the 1960s because he was 'not comfortable' with its racist views. ...But campaigning in Alabama last April, Biden talked of his sympathy for the South, bragged of an award he had received from George Wallace in 1973 and said 'we (Delawareans) were on the South's side in the Civil War.'"

These days, Biden takes a much different tone toward Wallace, even using the former governor as an unfavorable comparison for President Donald Trump.

"No president has ever led by fear. Not Lincoln, Not Roosevelt, Not Kennedy. Not Reagan," Biden said, campaigning in Florida last year. "This president [Trump] is more like George Wallace than George Washington."

These revelations by the Washington Examiner add on to a previous report that Biden opposed busing policies to desegregate school districts.

"I think the concept of busing, that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride," Biden said in 1975.

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