The Latest: Biden flanked by Harris, Booker on debate stage

DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

Night two of Democrats' second set of presidential primary debates is underway in Detroit, with Joe Biden flanked by Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

The lineup puts the white former vice president between two black senators who have sharply criticized Biden's record on matters of race.

Biden has promised he'll counter more aggressively than he did in the June debate.

Harris hammered Biden in that opening round for opposing federal busing orders issued in the 1970s to desegregate public schools like hers in California.

Booker has blasted Biden for helping write a 1994 law blamed for accelerating mass incarceration.

Biden could look to highlight Harris' evolving positions on health care as she argues for a "Medicare for All" plan but insists she won't raise middle-class taxes to pay for it.


7:55 p.m.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is again complaining about what she describes as lopsided allocation of time among candidates at the Democratic presidential debates.

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In a tweet apparently composed by her sister, Gabbard on Wednesday tweeted that, if the second debate night in Detroit "is as biased/unfair as last night," then the Democratic National Committee "needs to reconsider CNN hosting future debates."

The tweet from Gabbard says questions were "very biased and lopsided in favor of certain candidates" and says the network "should not be picking winners and losers."

It's the second time Gabbard has gone after a host network for alleged unfairness. Following the previous round of debates, Gabbard's sister wrote from the congresswoman's Twitter account that "it's clear who MSNBC wants to be president: Elizabeth Warren."


5:10 p.m.

Joe Biden knows the attacks will be coming. The question for the former vice president in Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate will be whether he handles them in a way that restores confidence to his anxious supporters.

Biden will be forced to defend his record as nine eager rivals fight to knock him from his front-runner perch in the increasingly combative primary.

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Biden's advisers say he expects to face pointed questions about race in particular, having stumbled in the opening debate when confronted by California Sen. Kamala Harris over his record on school integration. The pair will be joined onstage by a second senator of color, Cory Booker of New Jersey, who in recent days seized on Biden's decades-old support for criminal justice laws that disproportionately hurt minorities.

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