Biden apologizes for the comments in defense of the segregationist senators.

WASHINGTON: Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden , the favorite for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election, apologized on Saturday for comments that supported segregationist lawmakers who had been taken advantage of by their opponents.

A former senator from Delaware who served under the first black president of the United States Barack Obama Biden sparked controversy last month when he said he had done things with Southern senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, both of whom supported racist policies.

Eastland never called me 'boy', he always called me 'son', said Biden in comments that led to the condemnation of several of his competitors who were seeking the Democratic nomination to face the Republican president. Donald Trump in next year's elections.

Biden remained defiant and refused to apologize, but on Saturday he changed course.

A few weeks ago I was wrong to give people the impression that I was praising the men I successfully opposed, over and over again? Well, yes, I was and I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for any of the pain or misconception that may have caused someone, Biden said during a speech at South Carolina .

Should that false step define 50 years of my record for fighting for civil rights, racial justice in this country? I hope not, he said.

Although he still conducts polls at the top of the crowded Democratic field, Biden saw his slide after his first appearance in the debate in which the California senator Kamala Harris I confronted him for racial issues.

She accused him of opposing the transportation of black students to schools in white neighborhoods during the 1970s as part of integration efforts, a highlight during two-night discussions.

Surveys published after the debates showed growing support for Harris, the only black woman in the race, while Biden fell.

On Friday, Biden told CNN he was surprised by Harris' attack, but he said he was not worried because Americans think they know me.