Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took aim at Sen. Kamala Harris in 1 of the much more fiery moments of Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Detroit, blasting the California senator and former prosecutor for her record on the death penalty, marijuana and other criminal justice difficulties.
“Sen. Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president,” Gabbard stated. “But I’m deeply concerned about this record.”
Reading from her notes, the congresswoman from Hawaii then cited many examples of her issues about Harris.
“She blocked proof that would have freed an innocent man from death row till the court’s forced her to do so. She kept men and women in prisons beyond their sentences to use them as affordable labor for the state of California,” Gabbard stated. “She place more than 1,500 men and women in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
In February, shortly soon after announcing her candidacy, Harris admitted in a New York City radio interview that she has made use of marijuana herself, and in contrast to Bill Clinton, she inhaled. (“I did inhale,” Harris stated, laughing. “Listen, I believe [it] offers a lot of men and women joy,” she added. “And we require much more joy.”)
Harris responded by saying that as California lawyer basic, she “did the operate of considerably reforming the criminal justice program of a state of 40 million men and women, which became a national model for the operate that demands to be completed.”
“And I am proud of that operate,” she continued. “I am proud of creating a choice, not just give fancy speeches, or be in a legislative physique and give speeches on a floor but truly performing the operate of becoming in the position to use the energy that I had to reform a program that is badly in require of reform.”
Gabbard, a lengthy-shot for the nomination, then addressed Harris straight.
“When you have been in a position to make a distinction and an effect in these people’s lives you did not,” Gabbard stated. “And worse — in the case of these on death row — innocent men and women? You truly blocked proof that would have freed them.”
“You owe them an apology,” she stated.
“My whole profession I have been opposed, personally opposed, to the death penalty,” Harris replied. “And that has by no means changed.”
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