Former Vice President Joe Biden needs to “up his game” after underperforming at last week’s Democratic presidential debate, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said, but other candidates shouldn’t underestimate him in the crowded presidential primary race.
“The narrative is that maybe it’s not his time and that he’s not up to the task,” Graham said in an interview on “Face the Nation” taped Saturday. “I think you will … underestimate Joe Biden at your own peril.”
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Biden came under attack from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during Thursday’s presidential primary debate over his opposition to federal court-ordered busing implemented to desegregate schools, which Biden calls a misrepresentation of his record.
“He’s got to up his game,” Graham critiqued, but added: “There’s not a racist bone in his body.”
Graham also praised Harris, a fellow senator whose attack on Biden was a key moment in Thursday’s primary debate in Miami.
“One thing I’ll say about Kamala Harris, and I said this before: She’s got game,” Graham said. “She is very talented, she’s very smart, and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, served alongside Biden in the Senate. Biden has underscored his lengthy record in the Senate and contends, despite years of partisan gridlock, that he could work with Republicans on Capitol Hill who have previously obstructed Democratic aims.
Graham — who criticized Trump during the 2016 presidential election but has since become a staunch ally of the president — also slammed Democrats’ policy proposals as “pretty liberal, pretty extreme.”
“I watched the debate,” he said. “The policy options being presented to the country by the leading contenders on the Democratic side are their biggest problem.”