California Senator Kamala Harris accused Biden of "coddling the reputations of segregationists".
"I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together", said Booker, who is African American. "I never thought I'd say it". As he put it Tuesday: "Today, you look at the other side and you're the enemy". Not the opposition, the enemy.
Others, however, have spoken out against Biden, including some of his 2020 competitors. Sen. Cory Booker called on Biden to apologize, saying on CNN Wednesday that Biden's comments resonated with him on a personal level, recalling the "indignity" of "watch (ing) another man call my father "boy" or being called that himself. So if he didn't say 'Boy, ' I think it would have landed differently.
"Cory shared directly what he said publicly - including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word "boy" is painful to so many", said Sabrina Singh, a Booker campaign spokeswoman. "So maybe the best way to beat him is to go make your own relationships". This is Biden responding. "He's asking you to apologize". "Apologize for what? Cory should apologize". "There's not a racist bone in my body", he said.
Actually, the controversy has thrown the spotlight on a particularly sordid and reactionary episode in Biden's early career in the Senate.
First came the "touching" scandal, in which a former candidate for political office in Texas accused Biden of kissing the back of her neck without permission and making her feel uncomfortable.
Biden reportedly called Booker this week to discuss the disagreement but did not apologize.
Biden supporters have repeatedly pointed to his efforts on civil rights issues to cast him as a champion of equality. African-Americans make up 28 percent of the state's population but more than half of the Democratic primary votes.
Biden was talking about the breakdown between Republicans and Democrats, but he may as well have been talking about the Democratic Party itself, which is headed in a risky and discouraging direction when a history of cooperating is so quickly attacked as a commitment to complicity.
Biden had raised Eastland and Talmadge specifically because they were so far from his moral compass, but the anger flew at Biden from Booker and others for mentioning the segregationists, let alone working with them decades ago.
A second anonymous adviser to Biden's campaign also spoke to The Washington Post, brushing off the wave of criticism as a passing matter. "In 1997, Mr. Biden effusively praised him, including glowing words for Thurmond's life before public office".
Goldberg's comments come after Biden has become embroiled in a feud with Sen. That was inartful.' I didn't mean in it that way and I think we have to - sometimes people say things in a conversation and you get what I'm trying to say, but people turn it into something else.
He continued, "Not a joke". Quoted in Politico, Thompson was quoted as saying, "If he (Biden) was able to work with Eastland, he's a great person". He went on to warn, however, "when we have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution".
When Biden was waxing on about the old Senate days, he lamented that things are different now.
"You impress not occupy to agree with of us to work with them", said Mr Clyburn, who's Dwelling of Representatives majority whip. No one's standard of living would change.