Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) declared former Vice President Joe Biden to be "full of BS" on his record over women working outside the home on Thursday.
Gillibrand confronted Biden at Wednesday night's debate with a 1981 op-ed he wrote as a young senator about his opposition to an expanded child tax credit allowing families to deduct childcare expenses. Biden tied his opposition to the credit being granted to high-income families, but he also wrote the increased reliance on daycare services showed a "cancer of materialism" in society and an avoidance of responsibilities.
Biden did not discuss gender or mothers in his op-ed, but Gillibrand framed it during the debate as Biden saying "women working outside the home" would deteriorate the family. CNN interviewer Brooke Baldwin pointed that out and noted Biden said during a Senate floor speech that year he had no issue with working mothers.
"I think he's full of BS when he says that, because the truth is, who works outside the home in '80s, '90s, today? If you have two parents in a family, it's typically the woman who stays at home," Gillibrand said. "Even today, less than five percent of two-parent households is the woman not the one to stay at home. So the truth is, he could only be referring to women, because that's the reality when he wrote it. It's still the reality today."
Gillibrand dramatically asked Biden if her service in Congress as a mother was part of a deterioration of the family, but he had a ready retort, saying he was a single parent for five years following the death of his first wife and knew the cost of childcare well. He defended his record on women's issues and tied Gillibrand's attack to base politics.
"You came to Syracuse University with me and said it was wonderful," Biden said. "I'm passionate about the concern making sure women are treated equally. I don't know what's happened except that you're now running for president."
Gillibrand complained then and in interviews Thursday that her question wasn't answered.