2020 presidential debates: Joe Biden baffles with answer to question about slavery reparations

Former Vice President Joe Biden was asked about slavery reparations during Thursday's 2020 presidential debate, and his answer left some viewers confused. 

ABC moderator Linsey Davis referenced a 1975 statement from Biden, in which he said he'd "be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago," before asking him about his thoughts on the issue of reparations.

"What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?” Davis asked Biden.

"Look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that," Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner, said.

Biden went on to list a number of proposals for improving the U.S. education system, including investing more in Title I schools, increasing teacher salaries and adding new support systems for students.

He added that some parents might not know exactly how to help educate their children outside of school — then offered a suggestion.

"Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player — on at night, make sure that kids hear words," Biden said. "A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background — will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time we get there."

The comments left some baffled, with viewers taking to social media with both jokes and serious criticism. 

Biden has been called out for his gaffes multiple times during the 2020 campaign. Earlier this month, the former vice president came under fire for sharing inaccurate details in a war story. Last month, he was criticized for saying that "poor kids are just as bright as white kids." 

Friday's debate was the third of the 2020 Democratic primary so far. The next debate will be held in Ohio on Oct. 15, with the possibility of extending into Oct. 16, depending on the number of candidates who qualify.