October 25th, 2007
11:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Biden 'stumbles' over education question

Sen. Joe Biden.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In what the Washington Post is describing as a "stumble," Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in an interview with the paper Wednesday that Washington's high minority population is one of the reasons for the city's education problems.

Explaining why schools in Iowa are performing better than those in Washington, D.C., Biden told the Post, "There's less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with."

"When you have children coming from dysfunctional homes, when you have children coming from homes where there's no books, where the mother from the time they're born doesn't talk to them - as opposed to the mother in Iowa who's sitting out there and talks to them, the kid starts out with a 300 word larger vocabulary at age three. Half this education gap exists before the kid steps foot in the classroom," the Delaware Democrat added.

The paper reports Biden's campaign quickly sought to clarify the remarks, saying in a statement that the senator was not making a "race-based distinction" but rather a "socio-economic" one.

This isn't the first time Biden's words have caused controversy. Last February, on the same day he officially announced his presidential bid, a newspaper quoted the senator describing Sen. Barack Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

And, in a June 2006 appearance in New Hampshire, Biden commented on the growth of the Indian-American population in Delaware by saying, "You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I'm not joking."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Iowa • Joe Biden
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. InfidelCrusader, Constantinople

    What is so racist about telling the truth? He should have continued to explain that the Democrats 'Great Experiment' of LBJ is the cause of the welfare mindset. That the Democrat Socialist Nanny State, is not needed.
    Those that are on Welfare, should not be allowed to vote. They'll just keep voting in people that will give them handouts... Like Hillary.

    October 26, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Steve, Monterey, CA

    Why persecute the man for telling the truth. Has political correctness gone that far?

    October 26, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. travis denver CO

    let put it so all of you brain dead DNC members will understand JOE BIDEN (d) IS THE HEAD OF THE KKK IN DELAWARE!!

    October 26, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Robert

    Joe Biden must be moving up in this competition if so many Obama and Ron Paul followers are attacking him.

    Good for you Joe!

    October 26, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. Steve, Los Angeles, CA

    I've never cared for Biden, mainly because of his pathetic Chuck Schumer-like efforts to get in front of a TV camera for any reason whatsoever. But, there's no denying that the guy is smart... one of the more intelligent and brighter dudes in the Senate (yeah, I know, a low bar) if you read some of his writings.

    But just because what he said is not Politically-Correct, does not detract from the accuracy and merit in his observations. He's not saying much of anything different than Bill Cosby has repeatedly said.

    More politicians should have the 'nads to tell it like it is and not pander to the race-baiting, poverty pimps like Jesse and Al, et al., that the media and other pandering politicians routinely prostrate themselves before. Blacks - and all others - will be better off from considering the valid criticism.

    October 28, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  6. Josh, Chicago, IL

    Don Imus says a few silly words in jest and gets canned. We have a cow over whether a Senator played footsie in an airport. Yet this isn't reported in the Chicago Libune, New York Slimes or Washington Compost??

    October 28, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. DW, Atlanta, Ga

    Biden's comment will certainly be viewed as racist. Not b/c he is racist but b/c he is an easy target and we don't want to adress the real racial gap that exist. As an African American that supports Biden I find this subject hard to adress but I'm glad he said it and i hope this will start an actual dialogue.

    October 30, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. sergio, San diego California

    Black people has monkey brains no wonder they are so stupid and fail

    November 22, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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