On Sunday Biden joined civil rights leaders to re-enact the historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Speaking alongside Rep. John Lewis, who is lauded as a hero of the civil rights era, Biden said he was sorry he hadn't been there the first time around.
"I regret - and although it's not a part of what I'm supposed to say - I apologize it took me 48 years to get here," Biden told the crowd.
"I should have been here. It's one of the regrets that I have and many in my generation have," he continued. "I was old enough. I could have been here. I should have been here, 48 years ago."
But TV footage of the marches had a profound effect, Biden said: "Nothing shaped my consciousness [more]...than what happened here in Selma." In 1965 police reacted violently to ~600 marchers entering Selma, an event that became known as "Bloody Sunday." The protests inspired Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act four months later.
Biden criticized the recent challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court will hear later this year. "Strom Thurmond voted for [Section 5's] reauthorization, and yet it's being challenged in Supreme Court of United States of America as we stand here today," he said.