Gabbard calls Harris response to attacks 'pathetic'

Presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocrats debate in Houston: Who came out on top? Poll: Sanders and Biden now in statistical tie in New Hampshire Krystal Ball: Tulsi should be on the debate stage; Saagar Enjeti: Has the media given Biden a pass? MORE (D-Hawaii) hit back at Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' MORE (D-Calif.) after Harris brushed off her criticism following Wednesday’s debate in Detroit.

“Honestly, it’s pathetic that when confronted with the facts and the truth about her record that she claims to be proud of as a prosecutor, as attorney general of California, all she can do is lob cheap smears,” Gabbard told Hill.TV on Thursday in response to Harris's remarks. 

The Harris campaign didn't immediately respond to Hill.TV's request for comment. 

Following Gabbard’s attack of her record as a prosecutor in California, Harris told CNN that she expected to “take hits,” calling herself a “top-tier candidate” and noting Gabbard’s low standing in recent polling.

The California senator also called out Gabbard for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017 and declining to call him a war criminal.

In her interview with Hill.TV, Gabbard re-upped her criticism over Harris’s prosecutorial record, emphasizing that the senator's campaign is “predicated on being a champion for the people,” particularly people of color.

“This is all a lie because when she was in a position to do something about it, when she was in a position to make a difference and truly be a champion for the people she furthered and perpetuated this unfair, unjust system that harmed many black and brown people in the state of California,” she told Hill.TV.

Gabbard’s comments mark the latest exchange between the two White House contenders after a brutal night of intraparty fighting among Democrats in the second round of Democratic debates.

During the debate, Gabbard said she was “deeply concerned” about Harris’s record as a prosecutor, accusing her of locking up scores of of racial minorities for low-level drug offenses. She also accused the senator of hiding evidence that would free an innocent man on death row and keeping people imprisoned for longer sentences to use them as cheap prison labor.

“The people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology,” Gabbard said.

Harris defended her record, saying she has done more than give “fancy speeches,” an apparent dig at the congresswoman.

“I did the work of significantly changing the criminal justice system and I’m proud of that work, to not just give fancy speeches or be in a legislative body and give speeches on the floor but actually doing the work,” Harris said on the debate stage.

—Tess Bonn