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‘I wouldn’t do it differently’: Castro defends his Biden attack

David J. Phillip/AP Photo

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro on Friday morning defended his criticism of 2020 front-runner Joe Biden at the previous evening’s primary debate — saying he “wouldn’t do it differently” and insisting the apparent questioning of the former vice president’s mental acuity “was not a personal attack.”

“This was about a disagreement over what the vice president said regarding health care policy,” Castro, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told CNN.

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“I pointed out this big difference in our approach and, no, Americans need to know that,” he said.

The heated exchange between the two former Obama administration officials, which came as Biden discussed his health care proposal, provided perhaps the most explosive moment of Thursday’s forum in Houston. Castro accused Biden of bungling his argument, shouting at him from across the stage: “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?”

Some commentators and fellow candidates had denounced the verbal assault in the hours since the broadcast’s conclusion, charging that Castro’s comments constituted an out-of-bounds ageist dig and were misrepresentative of Biden’s stance.

But Castro asserted Friday that Biden “couldn’t hear me in the auditorium,” and claimed he would have similarly challenged “any opponent on stage” — not just the septuagenarian former six-term senator.

“We’re up there to debate, so I’m going to continue to point out the differences,” he said. “If we’re not there to point out the differences to the American people about our policy — not our personalities, but our policy — then why are we there?”

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