Detroit (AP) - Former US Democratic presidential favorite ex-vice-president Joe Biden has had to defend himself against fierce attacks by his rivals.
The Democrats' second television debate in Detroit during the night of Thursday made things uncomfortable for him: several competitors confronted Biden with his past in the US government under President Barack Obama. Among other things, they criticized the mass deportations of illegally immigrant migrants. Also on other topics put the competitors Biden under pressure. He fought back with counterattacks - and numerous evasive maneuvers.
More than 20 Democrats compete for the presidential election in November 2020, more than ever before in the party's history. Given the large field of applicants, the second round of TV debates was divided into two evenings - with ten candidates each. The first ten candidates in Detroit had already made their appearance during the night of Wednesday.
Biden is in the polls for the presidential Democrats for weeks ahead. In Detroit, the competition seemed to shoot at him. The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, for example, repeatedly threatened Biden with the question of whether he considered the mass deportations in the Obama years a mistake in retrospect and advised Obama against it. New Jersey's Senator Cory Booker has repeatedly stated that Biden can not shirk his past in the Obama administration. Julian Castro, once an ex-labor minister in Obama's administration, said with regard to Biden, not all would learn from past mistakes.
Biden avoided, stressing that he had been Vice President, not President. His advice he kept for himself. At the same time he defended Obama's migration policy as a whole and assured that there would be no mass deportations under him. At the same time, he attacked Castro, saying that he had no objection in the government at the time.
On the subject of health policy, Biden was confronted above all with Californian Senator Kamala Harris, who had already put pressure on Biden in the first round of TV debates in late June in Miami. Harris accused Biden of letting millions of Americans out with his concept for health insurance. Biden, in turn, warned Harris that her health program was priceless.
In Miami, Harris had scored against Biden when she attacked him for his former positions on equal treatment of blacks. Also in Detroit she criticized him again for having worked together with two deputies who were advocates of racial segregation at the beginning of his career in the Senate.
On other issues - such as the discussion on judicial reforms or gender issues - put the Democratic presidential candidates to their party colleagues. Biden sometimes tried to steer the attention in another direction by attacking the White House incumbent, US President Donald Trump, but with no real success.
In his closing remarks, Biden appealed to voters to choose him to prevent four more Trump years. "We choose science instead of fiction, hope instead of fear, unity instead of splitting," was his credo.
The TV debates give presidential candidates the opportunity to present themselves to a national audience. To participate, they had to show in surveys and the amount of donations certain minimum values. Not all contenders did it. For the third round of debates in September in Houston once again apply stricter conditions, so the circle is likely to shrink.
The party-internal primaries, in which the Democrats set their candidate for the presidential election in November 2020, begin in February. Trump wants to compete in the election for the Republicans and secure a second term.
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