Gabbard defends Biden on Iraq War record: 'He was wrong — he said he was wrong'

Presidential candidate Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocrats set early state primary debates for 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Gabbard news items generating more social interactions than other 2020 Democrats: study MORE (D-Hawaii) defended fellow White House contender Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Democrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach  MORE after he addressed his record on the Iraq War, an issue that the former vice president faced criticism for during Wednesday’s presidential primary debate.

“He was wrong — he said he was wrong and he has apologized for it more than once,” Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, told Hill.TV on Thursday in response to why she wasn't more critical of Biden over the issue.  

“That’s the kind of reflection that I think is important for any one of our politicians who made that wrong and fateful decision to vote for the Iraq War that resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniform,” she added.

Biden, the current front-runner, came under fire for his record on a number of issues during the second round of debates in Detroit. 

At one point, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeFight against flavored e-cigarettes goes local Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Bullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate MORE brought up Biden’s vote in favor of authorizing the Iraq War in 2002. Inslee, who was a congressman at the time, had voted against it.

“I did make a bad judgment,” Biden said in response.

Gabbard was one of the only candidates on the debate stage not to directly attack Biden. The Hawaii Democrat instead directed her criticism towards Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE (D-Calif.), which has since resulted in an ongoing war of words.

In a tense exchange between the two presidential candidates on Wednesday, Gabbard accused Harris of jailing hundreds of people for marijuana violations, keeping inmates beyond their prison sentences to use them as cheap labor and hiding evidence that would freed an “innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so.”

“The people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology,” she said, which was met with a round of applause.

Harris said she was proud of the work she has done as a former California prosecutor.

“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.

The exchange came just moments after Harris confronted Biden once again over his opposition to federally-mandated busing in the 1970s. 

This isn't the first time Gabbard has defended Biden. 

Following the first Democratic presidential debate last month, Gabbard hit back at Harris her attack on Biden over his record on school busing, saying it amounted to a "false accusation."

"But let's get real. It wasn't a 'whole thing' — it was a false accusation that Joe Biden is a racist," she said. 

⁠—Tess Bonn