Joe Biden Once Referred to Jessie Jackson as ‘That Boy’ in Unearthed Report

Posted on June 20, 2019 6:00 pm

As Joe Biden continues to fend off criticism for his remarks about working with segregationists, an old news story is resurfacing — bringing attention to the ex-veep once referring to Jesse Jackson as “that boy.”

Journalist Walker Bragman unearthed an old news article from the 1980s in which Biden used the term while speaking about Jackson at a news conference

From the article:

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), while praising Democratic presidential candidate Jesse L. Jackson, used the word “boy” to refer to him and Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) during an informal news conference here late Friday night.

Jackson “is one of the brightest guys around,” Biden said in remarks made after a speech. “That boy ain’t no dummy, just like Gary Hart, that boy ain’t no dummy either.”

Biden’s remark came in response to a reporter’s question about the impact of Jackson’s candidacy on the Democratic Party.

The story is corroborated by a 2008 piece written by a reporter who attended the presser. Biden said his comments didn’t have any racial intention since he also referred to Hart (who is white) as “that boy,” but according to journalist David Poole‘s account, multiple reporters at the news conference were stunned by the gaffe and took turns contacting their editors to talk about how to cover it.

The unearthed story holds particular relevance right now, given that many of Biedn’s 2020 rivals are attacking him for holding up his work with segregationists in order to argue for the importance of bipartisanship and political civility. Biden has dismissed calls for him to apologize, saying his critics “know better” than to criticize him on this issue.