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

Presidential candidate Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' A vaccine, a Burrito and more: 7 lighter, memorable moments from 2020 Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting MORE (D-Hawaii) defended fellow White House contender Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 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 InsleeThousands of troops dig in for inauguration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings 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 HarrisHarris takes up temporary residence at Blair House Amanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair 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