Democratic debate: Joe Biden struggles to explain op-ed saying 'women should not be working outside of the home'

Former VP also attacked over support for legislation preventing federal funds for abortion

Andrew Buncombe
Wednesday 31 July 2019 23:17 BST
Democratic debate: Joe Biden struggles to explain op-ed saying 'women should not be working outside of the home'

Joe Biden has struggled to explain an article he wrote in which he allegedly claimed women ought not to be working outside of the home.

In an attack she apparently tried out in a speech to voters in Iowa last week, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked the former vice president about an an op-ed in which she claimed he opposed women having professional careers.

Mr Biden appeared to struggle to respond to the question, about an article he reportedly penned in 1981, at a time when he was opposing a bill to provide a tax credit to help parents pay for child care.

The former vice president said his opposition to the bill was because he did not want to provide a credit to wealthier Americans, and said he had been a single parent who raised three children.

“That was a long time ago,” Mr Biden said

Ms Gillibrand pressed Mr Biden.

“What did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home it’s resulting in “the deterioration of family”,” she said.

Democratic debate: Gillibrand says the first thing she would do as President is 'Clorox' the Oval Office

Mr Biden responded by saying the senator had previously called him passionate about gender equality. He said both his late and current wives worked outside the home, and that he had written the Violence Against Women Act. He pointed out that he and Ms Gillibrand have worked together on women's issues.

He said: “I don't know what changed except you’re now running for president.”

Mr Biden was also attacked by Kamala Harris, over his long-term support of the Hyde Amendment, a piece of Republican legislation dating to 1976, that prevents the use of federal funds to provide abortions. He recently announced he had changed his mind on supporting the prohibition.She said: “On the Hyde amendment vice president, where you made a decision for years to withhold resources to poor women to have access to reproductive health care and including women who were the victims of rape and incest.

‘Do you now say that you have evolved and you regret that? Because you've only since you have been running for president this time said you in some way would take that back or didn’t agree with the decision that you made over many many years.”

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