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Biden says GOP beat Democrats at polls on 'defund,' warns against pressing issue, in leaked tape

"That's how they beat the living hell out of us across the country," Biden told civil right leaders, according to a leaked audio clip.

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Joseph R. Biden
Joseph R. Biden
(Robyn Beck / Getty Images)
Updated: December 11, 2020 - 8:03am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Joe Biden is apparently among the ranks of high-profile Democrats who think their party’s support for the “defund the police” movement resulted in unexpected Nov. 3 down-ballot losses, and he’s cautioning civil right leaders to pursue such reform efforts cautiously before the Georgia Senate runoff races.

"That's how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we're talking about defunding the police. We're not. We're talking about holding them accountable," Biden said in a virtual meeting Tuesday with civil rights leaders, according to an audio clip obtained by The Intercept.

Biden in warning the leaders about pressing such reform issues ahead of the critical Georgia runoffs vowed that'd her follow through on promises on those issues, if he's certified as president.

Republicans on Nov. 3 won at least seven House seats, after Democrats who controlled the chamber, expected to add to their 2018 wins that took the majority from Republicans. And Democrats’ expectations to take control of the Senate never materialized.

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the House majority whip, has said the defund movement hurt Democratic congressional candidates. And former President Obama said such “slogan” politics hurt Democratic candidates last month, which resulted in backlash from the progressive wing of the party that supports the movement.

In Georgia, the two Senate runoff races on Jan. 5 will decide which party controls the chamber. 

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