Biden wins key endorsement as Dems wrestle in South Carolina

ajc.com

A day after a raucous final debate before Saturday's key primary in the Palmetto State, Joe Biden rolled out a major endorsement from the most influential black Democrat in South Carolina, while Bernie Sanders said Biden does not have the ability to defeat President Trump in November.

"Jim, you better hope I don't win because you're going to be the busiest man in the world," Biden told Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), just before Clyburn officially weighed in on behalf of Biden.

"I know Joe Biden. I know his character, his heart, and his record," Clyburn said, as he urged black voters to back the former Vice President this weekend.

"We know Joe. But more importantly, he knows us," Clyburn added.

During a stop in Georgetown, a small port town up the coast from Charleston, Biden urged voters to turn out and vote on Saturday.

“Take back the country - now,” Biden said, his voice rising.

Before a group of local officials and voters, Biden made clear his dislike for President Trump - "he's more George Wallace than George Washington" - and gently chided Bernie Sanders with familiar jabs on health care and gun control.

"God Bless Bernie," Biden said, reminding voters that Sanders has made big promises which cost trillions of dollars.

"I'm not picking on Bernie or those who are for Medicare For All, I just think it's a little bit of honesty about what in fact, things are going to cost - who is going to pay for it," Biden said.

While Biden looked to consolidate his support among African-American voters, Sanders rushed across the state to sign up more people for his election crusade.

"Some of you may have recently heard that the establishment is getting very, very nervous about our movement," Sanders said at a rally in North Charleston.

While Sanders mainly focused on President Trump, the independent Senator from Vermont also added in some new jabs at Biden to Wednesday's stump speech.

"Same old, same old, is not going to do it," Sanders said, making the argument that Biden is not going to bring enough new voters into the Democratic Party to defeat President Trump in November.

"And I say to my good friend, Joe Biden - Joe, you can't do it," Sanders added, making the case that he is the only candidate who can win the White House.

"Joe is a friend of mine and a decent guy, but that is not the voting record or the history that is going to excite people, bring them into the political process, and beat Trump," Sanders added.

Polls in South Carolina show Biden and Sanders far ahead of the field, with only Tom Steyer - who has spent large amounts of money on advertising in this state - in striking distance of the two leaders.

Steyer and Biden were about four blocks from each other in Georgetown, as Steyer spoke to a small, racially mixed crowd at a black church several blocks from the water.

"I've been here more than anyone else," Steyer said of his attention to South Carolina, as his visits combined with a lot of television ads have propelled him into the mix here - unlike any other state so far.

Steyer rattled off his work on impeachment and blasted President Trump at every opportunity, calling him incompetent.

"He stinks on the economy," Steyer said.

ajc.com
Caption

Only a few blocks away, both men had essentially the same message for their audiences in Georgetown.

"South Carolina gets a huge voice on Saturday," Steyer said.

"Get up and take back the country!" Biden implored.

About the Author