The American Civil Liberties Union is airing a radio ad in South Carolina accusing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner, of ducking questions about race, policing and justice reform.
“Most candidates in the recent debate answered our questions, but Joe Biden did not. You heard right,” says the female announcer in the ad, which is running on 14 stations across the state.
The announcer goes on to hammer Mr. Biden for not answering the questionnaire from the country’s largest civil rights organization.
“Joe Biden passed on a chance to make clear where he stands on voting rights, on criminal justice reform, on police misconduct. We asked how he would address the unnecessary use of force by police, incidents that have led to countless tragedies and created distrust of those sworn to protect us. No response. Voters deserve to know. Does Joe Biden support rights for all?” she says.
The Post and Currier in Charleston, South Carolina, first reported the radio ad targeting Mr. Biden in that early primary state.
Mr. Biden has seen his lead fade in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. But he has held on to a wide lead in Palmetto State where he enjoys strong support from black voters who accounted for 60% of the state’s primary electorate in 2016.
The ACLU’s six-figure ad buy included stations in urban markets with large black audiences in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, according to the newspaper.
Mr. Biden, 76, has inherited strong support from black voters after two terms serving alongside President Barack Obama.
The former vice president retained the support of a majority of black voters in the polls despite several slip-ups on racial issues. Early on in the campaign, he praised avowed segregationist senators he worked with when he was a senator from Delaware.
In a June debate, rival Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California confronted him for opposing federally mandated busing to desegregate public schools in the 1970s.
Mr. Biden fumbled his response and his run appeared in jeopardy until black voters in places such as South Carolina rallied behind him.
“With so much at stake, we deserve to know where all the candidates stand,” the announcer says in the ad.
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