The third Democratic presidential discussion left the competitors differing on whether it is fair game to talk about previous Vice President Joe Biden’s fitness to be the party’s presidential chosen one year from now.
Mr. Biden has kept up his front-runner status in public surveying in spite of a series of verbal missteps throughout the late spring. A few Democrats have warned that his errors and gaffes could undermine Mr. Biden’s case that he is the one best set to beat President Trump. What’s more, at any rate one of his lesser-known Democratic adversaries, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, as of late said the 76-year-old Mr. Biden is “declining.”
That opinion saturated the Thursday’s discussion when Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, tackled Mr. Biden’s memory.
Mr. Biden forgot about those concerns Friday. Inquired as to whether he would discharge his medicinal records to address concerns about his age and mental sharpness, Mr. Biden reacted: “What the hell concerns, man? You wanna wrestle?”
He promised to discharge his medical records after his next physical test and “before there’s a first vote.”
In the discussion, Mr. Castro claimed Mr. Biden expressed contradictory things about whether his health-care plan, which would build up an government run protection option, would consequently enlist people.
“Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in,” said Mr. Castro, who is 44. “You’re forgetting that.”
Mr. Castro clearly was misrepresenting Mr. Biden’s comments, as indicated by a transcript of the discussion.
After the discussion, Mr. Biden’s campaign aides called Mr. Castro’s comment a “cheap shot.”
In any case, Mr. Biden told reporters Friday that he thought the discussion was commonly a perfect battle.
“I don’t view it as anything. I think he’s got his facts wrong,” Mr. Biden said. Approached on the off chance that it was reasonable for his adversaries to take note of his age, he reacted: “Sure it is,” and included that he delighted in the vigorous debate on health care “What I saw last night is fewer and fewer personal attacks,” he said. “So I think we’re getting closer and closer to what I think everybody’s looking for in the Democratic Party and the country: What is our view of the future, who has the best view and who can best initiate it, who can best complete it.”
He talked with many dark understudies at Texas Southern University Friday, amazing those gathered close to the understudy center’s Chick-fil-A with hand shakes and selfies.
Prior in the day, Mr. Biden talked at a private fundraiser in the affluent River Oaks segment of Houston. “Last night, I thought, was a good night. I think I could have done better,” he told participants. “I will do better, God willing.”
Mr. Castro shielded his remarks and said they weren’t identified with Mr. Biden’s age or mental sharpness. “You know, this is what the media does,” he said. “This was not a conversation about personalities. This was a conversation about health-care policy.”
Mr. Castro included: “When we get on the stage in October 2020 against Donald Trump, does anybody think that he’s going to be the nicest guy in the world?”
After the discussion as competitors strolled around the “spin room” of media at Texas Southern University’s campus in Houston, a few applicants were gotten some information about Mr. Biden’s mental sharpness and Mr. Castro’s comments.
“I think that we are at a tough point right now, because there’s a lot of people concerned about Joe Biden’s ability to carry the ball all the way across the end line without fumbling,” Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said on CNN after the discussion., including that Mr. Castro “has every right to call that out.”
“I think that Castro had some really legitimate concerns about, can [Mr. Biden] be someone in a long grueling campaign who can get the ball over the line?” the senator said.
Mr. Booker, 50, said he didn’t think Mr. Biden is too old to even think about being president, yet included: There are definitely moments when you listen to Joe Biden and you just wonder.”
Another presidential contender, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), said on CNN that Mr. Castro was off the mark. “I just idea: This isn’t cool,” she said. “I felt that was so close to home thus pointless.”
A portion of the presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California, declined to say something.
Friday morning in a TV appearance, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said of his kindred Texan’s remark toward Mr. Biden: “That kind of personal attack I don’t think is what we need right now.”
During the discussion, Mr. Biden conflicted pointedly with Sens. Warren and Bernie Sanders of Vermont about the role of government in the nation’s health-care system, as the three front-runners in the surveys went head to head just because on a discussion stage.
Notwithstanding the punch about memory, Mr. Castro likewise tackled Mr. Biden over immigration.
Mr. Biden shielded President Obama over his administration’s extradition of undocumented immigrants and redirected inquiries concerning his very own duty regarding the policies.
“He wants to take credit for Obama’s work but not have to answer any questions,” said Mr. Castro, who likewise had been a piece of the administration. “I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama and you’re not,” Mr. Castro told Mr. Biden.
The previous VP shot back: “That’ll be a surprise to him.”