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Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris campaigned in West Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday. She criticized President Donald Trump’s planned Fourth of July celebration and discussed topics including healthcare and busing. (July 4)
AP, AP

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kamala Harris doubled down Friday on her confrontation with former Vice President Joe Biden at the first Democratic primary debate last month, saying that if a candidate is not prepared on the debate stage, then the candidate is “probably not ready.”

During an appearance on “The View,” Harris was confronted by host Meghan McCain about the California senator’s attack on Biden. McCain called Harris’ breakout moment at last months’s debate a “political ploy,” quoting a phrase Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, another Democrat running for president, used.

“Listen this is a presidential race …we’re on a debate stage and if you have not prepared and you’re not ready for someone to point out a difference of opinion….then you’re probably not ready,” she said.

During the first Democratic primary debate in late June, Harris called out Biden for his comments about working with segregationist Democrats while in Congress and for his stance on federally-mandated busing to integrate schools decades ago.

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Nearly a week ago, during an appearance in South Carolina, where a majority of the Democratic primary electorate is expected to be African American, Biden apologized for his earlier comments about working with segregationist senators early in his Senate tenure.   

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Biden has repeatedly led the Democratic presidential field, even among black voters. In a South Carolina poll from Fox News released Thursday, 41% of black men and 41% of black women said Biden would be their preferred Democratic nominee. Comparatively, only 17% of black men and 9% of black women said Harris would be their choice to lead the 2020 Democratic ticket.

Among all Democratic voters surveyed, Biden led the pack with 35% in South Carolina. Sen. Bernie Sanders trailed after the former vice president with 14% and Harris followed with 12%.

With 701 South Carolina Democratic primary voters surveyed between July 7-10, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The margin of error among black men surveyed is plus or minus 7.5 percentage points and the margin of error among black women surveyed is plus or minus 6 percentage points. 

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Black voters are a key electorate for Democrats. Many of the Democratic wins in the 2018 midterms were driven by black voters, particularly black women, according to many political observers and an analysis from the NAACP.

Harris, who is one of two black candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, said Friday that she had “no intention of attacking Joe Biden” at the debate.

“But I am going to point out our differences of opinion on a very critical moment in the history of the United States,” Harris said on “The View.” “[In] 1954, the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided Brown v Board of Education, because there were segregationists in the history of our country, including the members of the United States Senate, who lived their career and their reputations on the basis of ensuring that the races would not be educated together…And… they worked on an issue that directly impacted me, which is this issue of busing.”

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