Dick Durbin says Biden may have gone 'a little too far' comparing opposition to segregationists

"It is stark, and I will concede that point," Durbin said.
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Dick Durbin, Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2021
Dick Durbin, Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2021
(Tom Brenner/Pool/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) admitted on Wednesday that President Joe Biden may have gone "a little too far in his rhetoric" the day prior when he compared opponents of his filibuster and voting agenda to segregationists.

CNN's Jake Tapper asked Durbin whether it was "stark" for Biden to compare fellow Democrats who disagree with him on changing the filibuster such as Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and segregationists George Wallace and Bull Connor.

"It is stark, and I will concede that point, but don't overlook the reality that in 20 different states, governed and led by Republicans in legislature and the governorship in each and every one of them, taking step by weary step to ensure fewer Americans vote," Durbin responded.

He said there are "parallels" between segregationists who worked to "reduce the opportunity for African Americans to vote" with politicians today who do not support Biden's agenda.

"Perhaps the President went a little too far in his rhetoric, some of us do, but the fundamental principles and values at stake are very similar," Durbin told Tapper.

In his speech in Georgia on Wednesday, Biden asked listeners: "Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bill Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide, to defend our elections, to defend our democracy."

Republicans sharply criticized both Biden's and Vice President Kamala Harris' speeches. For example, the House Republicans responded by pulling up a 1987 article in which Biden bragged that former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a staunch segregationist, praised him.