Biden remark about segregationists 'just makes him look older,' Democratic strategist says

Democratic strategist Kristen Hawn said Thursday that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE’s remark this week about working with two segregationist lawmakers “just makes him look older.”

“I don’t think it’s going to stick that Joe Biden is racist,” Hawn, a senior strategist at Agenda Global, told Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti on “Rising.”

“It actually just makes him look older,” she added.

Biden sparked controversy on Tuesday after he invoked his working relationships with two segregationist senators as an example of "civility." The former vice president recalled working with Sens. James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) during a speech at a fundraiser Tuesday night.

He was later called out by his fellow Democratic presidential primary contenders, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill O'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal Progressives fume at Buttigieg, warn him not to attack Warren at debate MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisO'Rourke hits back at Buttigieg over criticism of his gun buyback proposal Warren leads Democratic field by 3 points in new national poll Analysis: Warren and Booker most cyber-aware 2020 candidates MORE (Calif.) who are black. 

Booker called on Biden to apologize for the remarks, calling the former vice president "wrong" for using such relationships as examples of how to unify the country. 

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,’” Booker said in a statement. “Men like James O. Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity."

Harris said she was deeply concerned over the remarks, adding that, "If those men had their way, I wouldn't be in the United States Senate and on this elevator right now."

Biden, on Wednesday, refused to apologize, instead charging that Booker owed him an apology. 

Hawn went on to defend Biden over this remarks, saying he was trying to emphasize the need to come together across the political spectrum, no matter how “abhorrent you think somebody is.”

“I’m not saying that I’m defending his example, but I also believe that he was talking about the need for people to come together and actually work together, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, no matter how abhorrent you think somebody is,” she said.

But she added that she didn't agree with how Biden articulated his remarks and how he handled the subsequent backlash. 

“Now how he delivered it and we know how he tends to commit these gaffes and how they handled the follow up to it, that’s a different matter,” she told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn