Former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Friday he had not been arrested in apartheid South Africa when visiting Nelson Mandela in prison in the 1970s, despite previously saying so on the campaign trail.
"I said arrested. I meant I was not able to move," he told CNN. "I guess I wasn't arrested. I was stopped. I wasn't able to go where I wanted to go."
His correction to the story caps off a controversy over the origins of an account fact-checkers at the Washington Post had called "ridiculous."
“I had the great honor of meeting him,” Biden said while campaigning in South Carolina, according to a New York Times story this month. “I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him.”
Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, later told reporters the story had referred to the trip in the 1970s and that he "was separated from his party at the airport."
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In amending his account in Friday's CNN interview, Biden, a long-time former senator, said he had been visiting South Africa with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, when the "Afrikaners" with "their short pants and their guns" made him get off the plane and moved him in a "different direction" from the rest of the delegation.
According to Biden, South African officials wanted him and the black lawmakers in the delegation to go through two separate doors, but "I made it clear I wasn't going to move," and the officials eventually decided to take all of the lawmakers together to the baggage claim.
Biden faces his a crucial test in the South Carolina primary, where his campaign hopes for a big win after disappointing showings in the first three nomination contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden reverses on claim he was arrested in South Africa in the 1970s