Biden: 'Bizarre' that Democrats attacked Obama's policies at debate

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudget official says he didn't know why military aid was delayed: report Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide READ: Foreign service officer Jennifer Williams' closed-door testimony from the House impeachment inquiry MORE slammed other 2020 rivals for criticizing former President Obama's policies, telling reporters Thursday that it was "bizarre" that the previous administration's actions were being compared to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE's.

"I was a little surprised at how much incoming there was about Barack, about the president," Biden said.

“I’m proud of having served him. I’m proud of the job he did. I don’t think there's anything he has to apologize for," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Biden also strongly defended the Obama administration's record, while criticizing those who compared their policies on issues like immigration to Trump's.

"He changed the dialogue, he changed the whole question, he changed what was going on. And the idea that somehow it’s comparable to what this guy is doing is absolutely bizarre," Biden said comparing Obama to Trump.

The strong defense of Obama came after some Democratic candidates appeared to criticize a number of policies under the Obama administration on Wednesday night, including on deportations and his signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

Though Obama remains broadly popular among Democrats some progressives have long argued for a new Democratic president willing to take bolder action.

The debate is most prominent over health care, where candidates like Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Bloomberg, Patrick take different approaches after late entries into primary race Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSinger Neil Young says that America's presidents haven't done enough address climate change New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE (I-Vt.) are pushing for a more comprehensive "Medicare for All," whereas Biden and other more centrist candidates are pushing to build on ObamaCare.

Obama's record on deportations and immigration also came under fire during the forum at a time when Trump has come under intense criticism from Democrats over his "zero tolerance" policy.

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDeval Patrick enters 2020 race De Blasio slams Bloomberg run for president: He 'epitomizes the status quo' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings MORE questioned Biden on whether he thought the 3 million deportations under the Obama administration were a good idea.

While Biden said he would not share details about his private conversations with Obama, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Overnight Health Care: Warren promises gradual move to 'Medicare for All' | Rivals dismiss Warren plan for first 100 days | White House unveils rules on disclosing hospital prices | Planned Parenthood wins case against anti-abortion group MORE (D-N.J.) interjected, saying he couldn't have it both ways.

“Mr. Vice President, you can’t have it both ways,” Booker said Wednesday. “You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.”

Biden has made a concerted effort to tout his ties to the former president, who is seen as one of the most popular figures within the Democratic Party.

Booker defended his criticism on Thursday, saying that he was still immensely loyal to Obama.

"The reality is we have a situation right now where the president is doing things to this country that are perverting our very values and ideals, and talking about what our plans would be, different from the previous president; different from the current president, is not a bad thing," Booker said.

"He [Obama] is our statesmen," he said. "He ain't perfect. Nobody's ever pulled that off."

Updated at 1:45 p.m.