Elizabeth Warren reiterated on Tuesday that she would be open to staying in the presidential primary even if someone else had amassed an insurmountable plurality — but not a majority — of pledged delegates. That was the position of every other Democrat on the debate stage in Las Vegas last week besides Senator Bernie Sanders — who, as the current front-runner, appears to be the most likely candidate to wind up in the lead in such a situation.
“You do know that that was Bernie’s position in 2016?” Ms. Warren said, pushing back on a Sanders supporter in the audience at a CNN town hall who had asked about the issue. She said Mr. Sanders’s “last play” in that race was to win over the party’s so-called superdelegates.
She said she would stick to the rules outlined by the Democratic National Committee.
“Bernie had a big role in writing the rules. I didn’t,” Warren said. “I don’t see how come you get to change it just because you see an advantage.”
Tyson Brody, an adviser to Mr. Sanders, responded to Ms. Warren’s remarks on Twitter. “So the plan isn’t to win then,” he wrote, before deleting the tweet.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said during a CNN town hall program Wednesday night that she would introduce a proposal the next day to provide money for the government’s coronavirus response by stripping allocations from one of President Trump’s top priorities.
“I’m going to be introducing a plan tomorrow to take every dime that the president is now spending on his racist wall at our southern border and divert it to work on the coronavirus,” she said in the opening minutes of her hourlong appearance.
She went on to criticize the choice of Vice President Mike Pence by Mr. Trump to coordinate the government’s response, citing his response as governor of Indiana to a public health crisis involving an H.I.V. outbreak. For about two months in 2015, Mr. Pence opposed efforts to distribute clean needles to slow the spread of the virus.
“We also need someone in the White House who is coordinating all of the working and all of the messaging and all of the information,” Ms. Warren said. “And we need someone who is not actively disqualified from doing that the way the vice president is.”
Later in the program, Ms. Warren reiterated that she would be open to staying in the presidential primary even if someone else had amassed a plurality — but not a majority — of the delegates. That was the position of every other Democrat on the debate stage in Las Vegas last week besides Senator Bernie Sanders — who, as the current front-runner, appears to be the most likely candidate to wind up in the lead in such a situation.
“You do know that that was Bernie’s position in 2016?” Ms. Warren pushed back on a Sanders supporter in the audience who had asked about the issue. She said Mr. Sanders’s “last play” in that race was to win over the party’s so-called superdelegates.
She said she would stick to the rules outlined by the Democratic National Committee.
“Bernie had a big role in writing the rules. I didn’t,” Warren said. “I don’t see how come you get to change it just because you see an advantage.”
Tyson Brody, an adviser to Mr. Sanders, responded to Ms. Warren’s remarks on Twitter. “So the plan isn’t to win then,” he wrote, before deleting the tweet.
Twenty-four hours after the chaotic Democratic debate in South Carolina — in which it seemed at times that everyone was shouting at everyone else — Senator Amy Klobuchar told a CNN audience who her two targets were: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
“I felt the one differentiation I wanted to make on that debate was the difference between me as a leader of our party and my colleague Senator Sanders, and actually Senator Warren,” Ms. Klobuchar said Wednesday, making a case that she would have the longest coattails to help down-ballot Democrats running for Congress. “I think that we really need someone that can bring people with her and lead, and I am the only one with the track record up there.”
The down-ballot argument is one Ms. Klobuchar makes during nearly every stump speech, town hall event, campaign rally or television appearance. But she had not mentioned both Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders as the targets for her criticism before.
In her hourlong appearance on CNN, broadcast from Charleston, Ms. Klobuchar faced questions about her presidential campaign’s viability, including her ability to win support from black voters after just 2 percent of black voters caucused for her in Nevada, according to entrance polls. She said she would push to protect voting rights and create economic opportunity.
She was also asked about her ability to rally the liberal wing of the party after making the contrasts with Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren. “Elizabeth and Bernie and I are all in leadership together — I bet you wish you were in those meetings — in the U.S. Senate,” she said. “We have worked together on many, many issues. I admire both of them.”
Like the other candidates who appeared on CNN on Wednesday, Ms. Klobuchar was asked at the beginning of her town hall about the coronavirus, and particularly the announcement that President Trump had tapped Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the public health response.
“I would think usually you might put a medical professional in charge,” Ms. Klobuchar said, before adding that perhaps entrusting the response to the vice president could help elevate the urgency. (President Barack Obama named Ron Klain, a Democratic operative, to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola virus in 2014.)
Returning to the subject of the debate, Ms. Klobuchar told the story of the viral photo of her standing in between a shouting Tom Steyer and an equally animated Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“That moment with those two, they were going at it, and what was somewhat amusing about it was Tom Steyer was so heated he was moving into my little area,” Ms. Klobuchar said. She said that she had a little stool for her 5-foot-4 frame on the debate stage, and that she worried briefly that Mr. Steyer’s gesticulating might knock her off her perch.
“I thought to myself, ‘Well, if I fall over, and I’m hit, at least Steyer has deep pockets,’” she joked. “I can get something out of this.”
CHARLESTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. came out swinging at one of his chief rivals, Bernie Sanders, at a televised town hall event on Wednesday, swiping at him over everything from his record on guns to the damage that he suggested Mr. Sanders would do to Democrats running in down-ballot races.
Mr. Sanders identifies as a democratic socialist, and Mr. Biden was asked on the CNN program if he “would support a socialist at the top of the ticket.”
“We have moved in a direction that in fact, the progressive — now ‘progressive’ means ‘Bernie,’” said Mr. Biden, who is a relative centrist but added that throughout his career he had been considered a “liberal liberal.”
“It means democratic socialism or whatever the phrase is,” Mr. Biden said. “I think Bernie is a decent, honorable man who means what he says.”
But, he suggested, Mr. Sanders is also a candidate who would endanger the Democratic House majority and jeopardize more seats in the Senate should he be the party’s nominee.
His remarks come as Mr. Sanders has appeared to gain ground here in South Carolina, a state Mr. Biden has considered his electoral firewall, after the Vermont senator soundly defeated Mr. Biden in the first three nominating contests.
“It’s not a criticism of him as a man, it’s a criticism of whether or not you think you’re going to be able to help elect a Democratic senator here against Lindsey Graham, which I’m going to help do,” he said of the South Carolina Senate race this year.
His remarks about Mr. Sanders on Wednesday amounted to some of his most sustained criticism of his rival to date, part of an energetic performance in which Mr. Biden was by turns punchy — when discussing politics — and emotional, such as when he discussed grief or cancer.
He questioned whether Democratic Senate candidates in a red-leaning states would believe it was in their political interest to have “a self-proclaimed socialist at the top of the ticket.”
And as he often does, Mr. Biden expressed confidence that if he is the presidential nominee, he would help Democrats who are running in a wide range of competitive contests. He noted his efforts to do just that by campaigning in districts and states across the country in 2018, when his party recaptured the House of Representatives.
“Did anybody ask Bernie to come in?” he said. “It doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. It means it’s going to be hard holding on to the United States Congress and the United States Senate.”
Mr. Sanders did, in fact, campaign for many candidates in the midterm elections.
Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he will support whoever the Democratic nominee is, though he did not reiterate that point in his answers on Wednesday.
He also repeated criticisms he has been making about Mr. Sanders for weeks over his record on gun control. Previously, Mr. Biden has acknowledged that Mr. Sanders has changed his views on gun control — but on Wednesday he said Mr. Sanders’s past votes on the subject remain important.
Mr. Sanders voted in 2005 for a law that gave immunity to gun manufacturers in wrongful death lawsuits. Confronted with that record at the debate on Tuesday night, he called it a “bad vote.”
Mr. Biden pressed the point on Wednesday. “He’s gone after every corporation in the world — I don’t disagree on all of it with him,” Mr. Biden said. “But I have not seen him go after the gun manufacturers.”
He went on to suggest that in previous elections, Mr. Sanders made political calculations about how much to discuss gun control.
Mr. Biden was also pushed to defend some of his own record, including his support for the 1994 crime bill. He repeated a claim he has made before — that the crime bill “did not put more people in jail like it’s argued.” Many experts have linked the measure to an acceleration in mass incarceration.
Asked if he would support the measure today, he said that times have changed — but that such a standard should not apply to Mr. Sanders’s votes on guns.
“It was the right bill then,” he said. “Unlike voting to give exemptions to the gun manufacturers, never a right vote under any circumstances. Being against the Brady bill was never right under any circumstances. It was right at the time.”
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Even as Bernie Sanders came to the defense of The New York Times, which was sued by President Trump’s re-election campaign on Wednesday, he spent much of the day bashing the news media’s political coverage.
Pointing to the reporters who were covering him at a rally in Myrtle Beach, S.C., he said the news media, “which determines what you see and read,” was owned by the “corporate media.”
And when asked at a forum in Goldsboro why poverty was not a bigger focus in the presidential campaign, Mr. Sanders blamed the country’s news organizations.
“Do you know how many times the media has asked me, what am I going to do about poverty?” he said. “I don’t think they’ve ever asked. I’m followed by all this media. They will not ask me about income and wealth inequality.”
Instead, he said, “They will ask me about some dumb statement I may have made the other day or something or what do I think of this or that.”
Still, Mr. Sanders defended The Times in a statement Wednesday addressing the Trump campaign’s libel lawsuit, which alleged that an Op-Ed in the newspaper in March had falsely asserted there was a “quid pro quo” between Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
Mr. Trump is “trying to dismantle the right to a free press in the First Amendment by suing The New York Times for publishing an opinion column about his dangerous relationship with Russia,” Mr. Sanders said in the statement.
And at one point while campaigning on Wednesday, Mr. Sanders seemed to stop himself. “They are good people,” Mr. Sanders said, referring to journalists and drawing a contrast with Mr. Trump. “These people try hard. They are not ‘enemies of the people.’”
But he quickly resumed his diatribe.
“They have been educated in their jobs to think that politics is, if I attack you or you attack me, that’s a big deal or if I slip on a banana peel, that becomes a big story.”
Michael R. Bloomberg watched the beginning of President Trump’s news conference on the coronavirus outbreak backstage at a CNN “town hall” in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday.
Minutes later, addressing the audience in the first such televised event of his presidential campaign, he took aim at Mr. Trump for both his handling of the virus threat and his reaction to a mass shooting in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“The bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing,” Mr. Bloomberg said of the public health threat. “The president is not ready for this kind of thing.” (Mr. Trump on Wednesday named Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the government’s response to the coronavirus, even as he played down the threat of a widespread domestic outbreak.)
Mr. Bloomberg appeared to relish the town hall format, seizing the chance to speak in greater detail about some of the causes he has put his vast personal fortune toward — without interjections or challenges from his opponents.
“They talk over each other again and again. I found that difficult,” Mr. Bloomberg said of the primary debates. “I didn’t grow up where you step on people, and that’s what they do all the time.”
Appearing more at ease than he had in his recent debate appearances, Mr. Bloomberg invoked his experience presiding over New York City in the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Sandy and the swine flu outbreak.
“Pulling people together, making them feel that they’re part of the solution, is what management is all about — it’s what I do,” he said. “New York is a microcosm of the country, and we’ve gone through a lot of this stuff already.”
The multibillionaire addressed a range of issues, fielding questions on climate change, gun control, and the controversial stop-and-frisk policing policy during his tenure in New York, for which he again apologized. “I made a mistake,” he said.
He criticized the Democratic race’s front-runner, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, on gun control, suggesting that Mr. Sanders, who voted in favor of a 2005 bill to shield gun manufacturers from liability lawsuits, was beholden to the gun lobby. But he also reiterated that he planned to throw financial support and his “main campaign offices” behind whoever the Democratic nominee might be.
“I’ve always thought it’s ridiculous to say, ‘I will always support the candidate no matter who it is’, because that’s how we got Donald Trump,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Having said that, it’s easy for me to say I’ll support any of the Democratic candidates,” he added. “Because the alternative is Donald Trump, and that we don’t want that.”
Asked about sexual harassment in the workplace, Mr. Bloomberg denounced forced arbitration and said his company had never required it. He went on to praise the #MeToo movement, though in 2018 he cast doubt on harassment allegations against Charlie Rose, the television anchor who broadcast his talk show from the Bloomberg L.P. offices.
“Most of the nondisclosure agreements every company has have to do with severance,” Mr. Bloomberg said, repeating that his lawyers had released three women from agreements they had reached with his company in past years, adding that he didn’t know if they would speak out, and saying that the company would never use such agreements again.
“We’ve changed our policy so we no longer use nondisclosure agreements in the company, anywhere in the world, going forward,” he said.
It may have been messy. But it drew a crowd.
The Democratic debate on Tuesday in South Carolina was watched by roughly 15.3 million viewers on CBS and BET, according to Nielsen, tied for the third-highest viewership total for a primary debate this election cycle.
Though it aired just six days after the debate last week in Las Vegas, the quickest turnaround of the campaign, the debate was a ratings hit for CBS.
Former President Barack Obama is calling on television networks to stop airing a pro-Trump super PAC’s deceptive ad against Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The ad, from the Committee to Defend the President, uses audio of Mr. Obama reading an excerpt from his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” In that passage, a barber describes “black committeemen” in Chicago seeking black voters’ support while not actually helping them. The text on the screen mentions Mr. Biden’s support for the 1994 crime bill and his past work with segregationist senators.
The implication is that Mr. Obama is denouncing Mr. Biden. But in reality, the passage has nothing to do with Mr. Biden and is in the words of a person Mr. Obama met, not Mr. Obama himself.
Lawyers for Mr. Obama sent a cease-and-desist letter to the super PAC on Wednesday.
Mr. Obama’s spokeswoman, Katie Hill, said in a statement:
President Obama has several friends in this race, including, of course, his own esteemed vice president. He has said he has no plans to endorse in the primary because he believes that in order for Democrats to be successful this fall, voters must choose their nominee. But this despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook, and it’s clearly designed to suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina by taking President Obama’s voice out of context and twisting his words to mislead viewers. In the interest of truth in advertising, we are calling on TV stations to take this ad down and stop playing into the hands of bad actors who seek to sow division and confusion among the electorate.
Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, cast the ad as evidence that the president is afraid of running against him — something Mr. Biden has long argued.
“Donald Trump and his allies are absolutely terrified that Joe Biden will defeat him in November,” Mr. Bates said. “This latest intervention in the Democratic primary is one of the most desperate yet, a despicable torrent of misinformation by the president’s lackeys.”
GEORGETOWN — Joseph R. Biden Jr. dismissed Bernie Sanders’s bet that he can radically expand the electorate in an excerpt of an interview released on Wednesday.
“We always talk about this great increase in participation,” Mr. Biden told NBC News. “He’s nowhere near — he’s not going to come anywhere near generating the kind of participation of young folks that Barack did in 2008. There’s no evidence of that yet.”
Mr. Biden’s knock on Mr. Sanders comes after the Vermont senator convincingly defeated him in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, and has looked stronger than many political observers initially expected here in South Carolina, a state Mr. Biden has cast as his electoral firewall.
Mr. Biden has struggled with young voters, while those same voters are a key part of Mr. Sanders’s coalition.
“There’s a lot of young people out there who are supportive of a more — I won’t say rational — a more practical path to get things done,” Mr. Biden said. “Americans aren’t looking for revolution. They’re looking for progress.”
The New York Times did a deep look at Mr. Sanders’s efforts to change the electorate. More on that here.
It’s nearly impossible for any Democratic presidential candidate to think about airing ads about the general election at this juncture, as they juggle running dedicated advertising campaigns in South Carolina and making a dent in the Super Tuesday states.
So a Democratic super PAC is moving in to help. Priorities USA Action announced last month that it would spend $150 million on negative ads attacking President Trump before the Democratic National Convention, and those ads have now started to hit the airwaves.
The group has released two new ads that aggressively attack the president. The first kicks off with Mr. Trump saying “I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” before running through a playlist of negative news reports about his handling of health care, North Korea, Turkey and his incessant tweeting.
The second ad features a breast cancer survivor named Amy from Pittsburgh. In a testimonial to the camera, Amy describes how a Republican effort to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions would have made it impossible for her to receive the care she needed to beat the disease.
These are the first two ads of what promises to be an intensely negative campaign against the president. According to Advertising Analytics, Priorities USA currently has $31 million in reservations in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
GEORGETOWN — Joseph R. Biden Jr. laced into Bernie Sanders’s health care platform on Wednesday afternoon with particular vigor, dismissing the senator’s plan to pay for his sweeping “Medicare for all” proposal and casting it as politically untenable and impractical.
“As my mother would say, God bless her soul, God bless Bernie,” Mr. Biden said, claiming that while Mr. Sanders had finally shared more details about how he would fund Medicare for all, he had so far failed to be straightforward about the tax implications for working people.
“I think we ought to level with you all,” Mr. Biden said. The former vice president wasn’t “picking on” Mr. Sanders or other supporters of Medicare for all, he said, but he believes there should be “a little bit of honesty” about “what things are going to cost, who’s going to pay for it.”
As he did on the debate stage on Tuesday, Mr. Biden also criticized Mr. Sanders for his past votes on issues like background checks for gun purchases.
“He says it’s because he’s from Vermont,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m from Delaware, one of the largest gun-owning states in the nation. You’ve got to decide what you’re for.”
The sharpened criticism of Mr. Sanders comes after the senator outperformed Mr. Biden in each of the first three nominating contests, and as he poses a potentially significant threat to his standing in South Carolina, a state Mr. Biden has said he expects to win.
ORANGEBURG — The Grammy Award-winning recording artist John Legend rallied for Elizabeth Warren at South Carolina State University on Wednesday, lending his star power to a candidate who needs a spark before Saturday’s primary.
Mr. Legend, whose real name is John Stephens, gave an impassioned speech in support of Ms. Warren, saying he did not intend to publicly support a presidential candidate until he was so moved by Ms. Warren’s candidacy.
“The reason she ran is to give this democracy back to its rightful owners — that’s you,” he said. To the large group of college students at the historically black university, Mr. Legend highlighted Ms. Warren’s plans to correct racial inequities.
However, in a slight nod to the challenges Ms. Warren faces in the state, he implored the students to change the course of her candidacy. “Elizabeth Warren needs you,” he said. “This country needs you. Everyone is watching South Carolina. Everyone is asking what will South Carolina do.”
“You have the power to send a message that will resound across this nation,” he added.
Mr. Legend performed immediately after Ms. Warren’s speech, bringing the crowd to its feet. He offered two of his biggest songs: “Ordinary People” and “All of Me.”
Michael R. Bloomberg continued to attack President Trump on Wednesday over his handling of the coronavirus and the widespread concern it has generated, releasing a new ad that painted the former mayor as a leader much better equipped to handle the outbreak.
In the 30-second ad, titled “Pandemic,” a narrator says that “managing a crisis is what Mike Bloomberg does,” and cites the actions he took to rebuild New York after 9/11. It also highlights the stock market plunge spurred by fears about the spread of coronavirus and superimposes a picture of Mr. Trump next to a headline from The Guardian that reads: “U.S. underprepared for coronavirus due to Trump cuts, say health experts.”
The ad will soon begin airing nationally on cable, broadcast and digital platforms, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign said.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s debate, Mr. Bloomberg issued a statement accusing Mr. Trump of having “buried his head in the sand as people around the world were dying,” and having “responded only after seeing the TV coverage of yesterday’s stock market plunge.” He and other candidates then continued to criticize Mr. Trump’s response to the health crisis at the debate, raising concerns about the way the Trump administration has funded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For his part, Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he had scheduled a news conference for 6 p.m. to discuss the topic while also criticizing the news media for what he said was an attempt to make the coronavirus “look as bad as possible.”
Immigrants will make up roughly 10 percent of all eligible voters in the 2020 presidential election, a record high, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, using estimates from the Census Bureau.
The number of immigrants who are eligible to vote has grown to 23 million people, nearly doubling since 2000, according to the center. For context, the number of U.S. voters who were born in the country grew by about 18 percent over the same time period. With 45 million immigrants living in the United States, immigrants make up roughly 14 percent of the total population.
Much of the change is driven by naturalization in the last decade: From 2002 to 2018, more than 10 million adult immigrants became citizens and are now eligible to vote.
There are roughly 7.5 million Hispanic immigrants who are eligible to vote, accounting for the largest share of all immigrant voters. Asians make up about 31 percent of the foreign-born electorate, or roughly 6.9 million voters, according to the study. Roughly 3.4 million voting-eligible immigrants come from Mexico; other top countries of origin include the Philippines, India, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and El Salvador.
The number of immigrant voters could prove vital on Super Tuesday, March 3. Nearly half of all voting-eligible immigrants live in states where the Democratic primary will take place on or before Super Tuesday. Of California’s 26 million eligible voters, 5.5 million are foreign-born, a higher share than any other state in the country. The four states with the largest populations of eligible voters — California, New York, Florida and Texas — are also home to most of the country’s naturalized citizens.
A group of more than 200 Cherokees and other Native Americans published an open letter to Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday morning reiterating concerns about the way she once presented her family history and about her widely criticized decision to take a DNA test to prove Native American ancestry.
In the letter, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, the group of concerned citizens of the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians said Ms. Warren had “perpetuated a dangerous misunderstanding of tribal sovereignty.” The group also asserted that more broadly, Ms. Warren had “set a harmful example” at a time when white people have routinely sought to falsely claim Native identity to advantage themselves.
Ms. Warren quickly responded with a heavily footnoted 12-page letter bearing her signature, in which she wrote bluntly: “I am not a person of color; I am a white woman, and that is how I identify. In addition, I am not a tribal citizen. Tribal Nations — and only Tribal Nations — determine tribal citizenship.”
“I was wrong to have identified as a Native American, and, without qualification or excuse, I apologize for the harm I caused,” she wrote in the letter.
She also sought to make clear that she had “never benefited financially or professionally” by identifying herself as Native American, an assertion backed up by an extensive Boston Globe investigation.
Later in the letter she added: “Regardless of whether you forgive me — and again, that is up to you and you alone — I will continue to try my hardest to be the best champion for Indian Country I can be.”
Last year, Ms. Warren rolled out a policy agenda aimed at helping Native Americans, just days before appearing at a presidential forum in Sioux City, Iowa, that was dedicated to Native American issues. She drew cheers at various points during her speech there, even as some citizens of the Cherokee Nation continued to argue that her efforts were insufficient.
During her eight-year tenure as the chief prosecutor in Minneapolis, Amy Klobuchar earned a tough-on-crime reputation by seeking stiffer sentences, tougher plea deals and more trials, and she vowed to call out judges for “letting offenders off the hook too easily.”
Those tactics served her well during her political rise, as Ms. Klobuchar parlayed her record into a Senate seat and now a run for the Democratic presidential nomination. But that record has also come under attack from civil rights activists who say she pursued policies that shored up her support in white suburbs at the cost of unfairly targeting minorities and declining to prosecute police shootings.
“There is an entire community that suffered under her leadership, and she has refused to accept accountability for the harm that she caused,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and former president of the Minneapolis N.A.A.C.P.
In recent weeks, the candidate has found herself forced to answer questions about the case of Myon Burrell, who was 16 when her office prosecuted him in the death of an 11-year-old girl, Tyesha Edwards, in 2002. Now she also faces questions about her office’s choice in 2001 to push to add two days to the sentence handed down against a legal immigrant — the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, which would result in his likely deportation.
Read more about Ms. Klobuchar’s record as a prosecutor:
NORTH CHARLESTON — After a debate during which he came under sustained attack from his rivals but emerged relatively unscathed yet again, how did Bernie Sanders feel? Was he riding high? Was he triumphant?
By all appearances, he was neither, delivering largely the same stump speech he has for decades at a rally in North Charleston on Wednesday. Before an enthusiastic but largely white crowd, Mr. Sanders laced into President Trump — as he often does.
“My view is that people all across the political spectrum understand we cannot continue to have a president who is a pathological liar, we cannot continue having a president who is running a corrupt administration,” he said.
As he often does, he knocked the establishment for asking whether he could defeat Mr. Trump in the general election in November, and cited recent polls showing him ahead.
He said he was “bringing people together” unlike Mr. Trump, who he said was trying to “divide us all up.”
He took a quick shot at Joseph R. Biden Jr. for a voting record that he said would not excite voters as he could.
He pledged to expand the electorate and said that in order to beat Mr. Trump, “we are going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States.”
Three days before the South Carolina primary, Mr. Sanders offered the same message he had before the nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
One of the few differences with his speech: He was able to mention those three states as victories, offering them up as proof of the strength of his grass-roots movement.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. wants to highlight a big endorsement. Pete Buttigieg seeks to get the word out about his plan to invest in African-Americans. And Michael R. Bloomberg has released new campaign swag that takes a shot at Bernie Sanders.
With the South Carolina primary just days away, the Democratic candidates have honed their closing arguments and tailored another round of advertising to voters they hope to win over in the 11th hour.
Just minutes after receiving a significant endorsement from James E. Clyburn, the South Carolina representative who is the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, Mr. Biden’s campaign quickly turned around a video featuring his praise and posted it on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Mr. Buttigieg released a new series of television and digital ads that feature his Douglass Plan, which seeks to empower black Americans, and Gladys Muhammad, a black community leader from South Bend, Ind., where he was mayor.
For his part, Mr. Bloomberg’s team has released a new piece of campaign merchandise that takes a shot at Mr. Sanders.
“We’ve got something in the shop for our #CAPitalist friends,” Team Bloomberg tweeted on Wednesday. The item? A baseball cap emblazoned with the phrase “NOT A SOCIALIST.”
For More on Campaign Merchandise…
An official with Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign said on Tuesday that he had been separated from black colleagues during a trip to South Africa in the 1970s, an explanation that amounts to his team’s first attempt to clarify comments that Mr. Biden has repeatedly made about having been arrested while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison.
Mr. Biden’s assertion, which was rebutted by a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has drawn skepticism in recent days as Mr. Biden’s campaign declined to answer questions about his remarks. But after the Democratic debate on Tuesday, Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Mr. Biden, said he had been referring to an episode in which he was separated from black colleagues in Johannesburg while on a congressional delegation trip to South Africa several decades ago.
“He was separated from his party at the airport,” Ms. Bedingfield said, a point she reiterated when a reporter noted that a separation did not did not constitute an arrest.
As recently as this month, Mr. Biden told an audience in South Carolina: “I had the great honor of meeting” Mr. Mandela, and “I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him.”
Here is the full story on the campaign’s explanation by my colleague Katie Glueck.
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that she was “comfortable” with Bernie Sanders at the top of the Democratic ticket in November, and did not believe his candidacy would jeopardize her majority.
Ms. Pelosi spoke in a brief hallway interview after her caucus had its weekly meeting, amid growing concern among moderate Democrats — many of them in swing districts won by President Trump — about a Sanders nomination.
One such moderate, Representative Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, told reporters on Wednesday that he had endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr., and suggested that by selecting Mr. Sanders, Democrats would fritter away their chance to wrest the presidency from Mr. Trump. “Why we would risk this extraordinary opportunity by nominating somebody who has a tendency to divide our own side is beyond me,” he said.
Ms. Pelosi has scheduled a briefing on Thursday at which officials from the Democratic National Committee will brief Democratic lawmakers on the delegate selection process. Members of Congress are “superdelegates,” who are entitled to support whomever they want at the party convention, but new rules this year effectively bar them from participating in the first ballot.
The Boston Globe editorial board announced on Wednesday that it would endorse Elizabeth Warren, its home-state senator, in the Democratic primary, less than a week before Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Super Tuesday.
In an editorial published early Wednesday morning, The Globe called Ms. Warren “a leader with the qualifications, the track record, and the tenacity to defend the principles of democracy, bring fairness to an economy that is excluding too many Americans, and advance a progressive agenda.”
“She would fight the corruption and corporate influence that distort our politics, lift up working families, and combat gun violence and climate change,” the editorial said, adding that her “diagnosis of what ails the democratic process is sound” and that she is “fearless and brilliant on her feet.”
The newspaper endorsement gives Ms. Warren a timely boost in a state that is all but a must-win for her campaign.
The Globe’s editorial board also endorsed William F. Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, in the Republican primary.
NORTH CHARLESTON — Bernie Sanders, speaking at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s breakfast, invoked his association with a number of civil rights leaders and made reference to his work fighting housing discrimination in Chicago, his involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, his participation in the 1965 March on Washington and his endorsement in 1988 of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential bid.
“Dr. King talked about socialism during his life, and what he said back then resonates today,” Mr. Sanders said. “‘This country has socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor,’” he continued, quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “You all know what that means? It means that people like Donald Trump when he was a private real estate developer received $800 million in subsidies to build housing. That’s called socialism for the rich.”
Mr. Sharpton introduced Mr. Sanders as the front-runner and talked about how opponents of the civil rights movement accused Dr. King of being a Communist. “Whatever you decide to do on Saturday, do not go by those who try to use the socialist tag to separate us over what we need to do in this country. Because we are not that stupid. Socialism, capitalism, all of them have not worked for black folks.”
NORTH CHARLESTON — Addressing the Rev. Al Sharpton’s group, Elizabeth Warren said she had brought her pastor, the Rev. Miniard Culpepper, to the breakfast with her. She went on to talk about her upbringing in the Methodist Church in Oklahoma and later, as an adult, when the pastor of her church in Houston asked her to teach a fifth-grade Sunday class.
“It was a complete disaster,” Ms. Warren said. “In the first few weeks, the children managed to cut each other’s hair. The boys all climbed out the window one Sunday. I lost them all. The kids were energetic, is the nice way to put it.”
But Ms. Warren said she managed to rein in the group. “Finally, I said, ‘Surely I can do better than this.’ Over time, we talked quite seriously about one Bible story over another, until we were into the middle of talking about what charity means — what human beings owe each other. And I still remember one little boy named Jessie, who raised his hand and said, ‘It means everybody gets a turn.’”
She went on: “So rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, young or old, male or female, God is in every one of us. And that’s what I fight for every day, uplifting and protecting the divine in each and every one of us.”
“I’m here today to ask for your vote because I believe we have been called to this moment of crisis,” she said. “And today, I make you this promise: When I am president, we answer this call together.”
NORTH CHARLESTON — Pete Buttigieg, who had canceled some events today because of a bad cold, made it to this morning’s breakfast, where he started off by praising Representative James E. Clyburn’s grandson, Walter Clyburn Reed, a staff member on Mr. Buttigieg’s South Carolina campaign.
Mr. Buttigieg, who has struggled to garner black support, acknowledged mistakes in his stewardship of South Bend, Ind., as mayor. “They will tell you there were times I did not get it right, but they will also tell you about the mistakes that I’ve made and the process that we went through to make sure that we got better each passing day,” Mr. Buttigieg said.
“And they will tell you about the work that remains to be done and the need to confront the effects of institutional racism.”
NORTH CHARLESTON — At Wednesday’s breakfast, Tom Steyer hit one of the themes he has focused on in campaign appearances around the state: inequality.
“What my parents believed in and what they taught my two brothers and me is that it is your job to stand up for justice in this society,” Mr. Steyer told the group, calling out President Trump. “The reason I’m running for president is that I believe the American people have been taken advantage of. But beyond that, I believe that we are very far from racial justice in the United States of America.”
“There is a dramatic racial subtext to every policy area in the United States that goes unspoken and that unless we address it specifically, we don’t address race,” he added, before repeating his call for slavery reparations.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, whose organization is hosting a post-debate breakfast for ministers, introduced Senator Amy Klobuchar as someone who has worked with the National Action Network on criminal justice issues.
Referring to last night’s debate, Ms. Klobuchar said, “Despite the slugfest that can go on, there is still much more that unites us than divides us.” She contrasted her comments with those by President Trump: “Hate directed against one affects all of us, whether it is that horrific shooting by white nationalists in the church right here.”
“And we all know it’s the same when it comes to economics,” she added. “Last night, I talked about broken promises to the African-American community.” Accusing Republicans of surgical precision in blocking access to polls, Ms. Klobuchar pledged to “stop voting purges, get rid of gerrymandering and automatically register everyone to vote when they turn 18.”
NORTH CHARLESTON — Representative James E. Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress and a political powerhouse in South Carolina, threw his support to Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday, handing the former vice president a coveted endorsement for his presidential campaign three days before the state’s pivotal primary.
Appearing with Mr. Biden in North Charleston on Wednesday morning, Mr. Clyburn praised his longtime friend and urged South Carolina Democrats to resurrect Mr. Biden’s candidacy in the final contest before Super Tuesday.
“I’m voting for Joe Biden and South Carolinians should be voting for Joe Biden,” Mr. Clyburn said as a visibly emotional Mr. Biden looked on. “I know Joe. We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us.”
Mr. Clyburn’s announcement was no surprise. He has a decades-long relationship with Mr. Biden and had told associates that he intended to endorse him after Tuesday night’s debate, which was held in Charleston.
Yet the intervention of Mr. Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, could not have come at a more critical time for Mr. Biden, who has portrayed South Carolina as his electoral firewall. Having staggered out of Iowa and New Hampshire and finished in a distant second to Bernie Sanders in Nevada last weekend, Mr. Biden badly needs a commanding victory in the state on Saturday to revive his campaign.
In remarks following Mr. Clyburn’s endorsement, Mr. Biden sought to remind voters in the state that they could still change the course of the campaign.
“South Carolina chooses presidents,” Mr. Biden said. “You decided to launch Bill Clinton to the White House, and up to that time it didn’t look like he was going very far — but you did. You launched my buddy Barack Obama to the White House. I firmly believe, once again on Saturday, you hold in your hands, in South Carolina, the power to choose the next president of the United States.”
Not only would a win allow Mr. Biden to claim a comeback, and infuse his campaign with urgently needed cash, it would also make an emphatic point about his strength with black voters. African-Americans are expected to make up over half of the electorate in South Carolina, the first state in the primary race where they can make a major impact.
Should Mr. Biden triumph on Saturday, his victory could undercut Michael R. Bloomberg, who has not competed in the early-voting states and is counting on support from black voters across many of the 14 states voting next Tuesday.
“If you send me out of South Carolina with a victory, there will be no stopping us,” Mr. Biden said. “We’ll win the nomination. We’ll win the presidency. And most importantly, we’ll eliminate the fear so many have in this country of a second term of Donald Trump.”
With Mr. Sanders expected to perform well in many of the whiter or more heavily Hispanic Super Tuesday states, the outcome in the six Southern states that day could help determine who emerges as the chief alternative to Mr. Sanders for the rest of the primary.
Mr. Biden has led in the polls in South Carolina since entering the race, but Mr. Sanders is riding a wave of momentum after his success in the first three contests and is threatening the former vice president in the state. A poll released by NBC News and Marist on Monday indicated that Mr. Sanders had shaved Mr. Biden’s advantage down to single digits in South Carolina — a difference within the poll’s margin of error.
Many of Mr. Biden’s top Democratic supporters privately believe he needs to win the state convincingly to turn back Mr. Bloomberg’s challenge and increase pressure on the other moderate candidates to get out of the race.
For his part, Mr. Clyburn made no mention of Mr. Sanders in his remarks, only highlighting Mr. Biden’s deep ties to South Carolina.
But upon taking the podium, Mr. Biden immediately, if implicitly, alluded to Mr. Sanders and what the former vice president said was the recent talk of “revolution.”
“What the country’s looking for are results,” said Mr. Biden.
Mr. Biden also issued a series of thinly veiled swipes at Mr. Sanders over his record on gun control measures — building on a contrast he stressed at the debate on Tuesday — and Mr. Sanders’s support for “Medicare for all.” Mr. Biden opposes the idea of that sweeping single-payer health insurance system in favor of building on the Affordable Care Act and adding a so-called public option, and he praised Mr. Clyburn’s efforts to shepherd Obamacare through Congress in the first place.
“Even the supporters of Medicare for all talk about, ‘Well, it’s going to take three to four years to pass it, and it’s going to take another three to five’ — depending on who you’re talking to, who supports it — ‘to get it into place,’” Mr. Biden said. “What people want, they’re looking for, is some hope. Some reassurance.”
A handful of prominent South Carolinians, including the former Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., also attended the news conference. But the focus was on the state’s senior member of Congress.
A veteran of the civil rights movement and South Carolina’s first black member of Congress since the Reconstruction era, Mr. Clyburn, 79, has long been a kingmaker in his home state’s politics. He hosts a popular annual fish fry, usually in conjunction with the Democratic State Convention, that for years has drawn presidential aspirants, who inevitably shower their host with praise and hold out hope that he will back their candidacies in South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Mr. Clyburn grew emotional, striking a deeply personal note as he nodded to the affection his late wife, Emily Clyburn, felt for Mr. Biden, who attended her funeral in September.
He had remained coy for days about what many Democrats believed was his inevitable choice of Mr. Biden, in hopes of delivering the endorsement with maximum impact before the many reporters and photographers in Charleston for the debate this week. But word leaked about Mr. Clyburn’s preference over the weekend.
Now, the growing ranks of anxious moderate Democrats, in South Carolina and beyond, will wait to see if what Mr. Clyburn said in an interview last year proves true.
“If Biden gets in the race, everybody else would be running for second place,” he predicted.
NORTH CHARLESTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. made someone else the focus of his first campaign trail appearance after last night’s debate: Representative James E. Clyburn, the most influential Democrat in South Carolina, who appeared poised to endorse Mr. Biden on Wednesday.
“The fact is, Jim, you’re one of the finest men I’ve ever met, not just in public life, but period,” Mr. Biden said, speaking at a gathering of the National Action Network, a prominent civil rights organization helmed by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Mr. Clyburn, the majority whip in the House of Representatives, was honored by the organization Wednesday morning.
“Jim, whether I’m still around or not, you got a lot of work to do, and whether I’m president or not, I’m going to be there to help you do the work,” said Mr. Biden, who also quoted Scripture during his brief address and referred to the ash on his forehead, an acknowledgment of Ash Wednesday.
“Jim, you better hope I don’t win,” Mr. Biden joked. “Because you’re going to be the busiest man in the world.”
President Trump weighed in on the Democratic debate Wednesday morning, firing off a pair of tweets in which he attacked almost all of the candidates who were onstage and reprised the name-calling tactic he has weaponized since the 2016 election.
“Crazy, chaotic Democrat Debate last night,” Mr. Trump said, before proceeding to go after Joseph R. Biden Jr. for a misstatement and critique the performance and behavior of Michael R. Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer.
“Just give me an opponent!” he added in a second tweet.
Mr. Trump did not mention Amy Klobuchar in either of his posts; he mentioned Mr. Sanders using an unflattering nickname but did not offer an opinion about his effort at the debate.
With 17 contests at stake over the next week, last night’s Democratic debate in Charleston took on a frenetic pace. Bernie Sanders faced the most scrutiny yet, Elizabeth Warren continued to bite into her rivals, and Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar faded.
It was a messy and unmoderated melee. Mr. Sanders took some hits and Ms. Warren has a new pitch. You can read more of the biggest takeaways from the debate here:
Six of the Democratic candidates will start their post-debate Wednesday at a ministers’ breakfast in North Charleston hosted by the National Action Network, the advocacy group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Here’s a look at where else the candidates plan to be and the types of events they have scheduled across South Carolina:
Bernie Sanders plans to hold rallies in North Charleston and Myrtle Beach in the afternoon. He is then expected to attend a church service in Goldsboro, N.C., with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II at night.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to attend a community event in Georgetown, S.C., in the afternoon.
Elizabeth Warren is expected to hold “get out the vote” events with the musician John Legend at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg in the afternoon and in Charleston in the evening.
Amy Klobuchar will attend a campaign event in Charleston in the afternoon.
Late Thursday evening, Pete Buttigieg canceled plans to travel to Florida after the National Action Network breakfast. He had been set to attend three fund-raisers there.
Tom Steyer is scheduled to attend two meet-and-greet events: one in the afternoon in Georgetown and one at night in Myrtle Beach.
The clash in Charleston on Tuesday night was the most aggressive, raucous and contentious of the campaign, but it was not clear in the aftermath that any one alternative to Bernie Sanders had broken through, as the Vermont senator sped toward Super Tuesday with momentum from the first three contests.
After an intense period of three debates in less than 20 days, the candidates will leave their fates to the voters, beginning on Saturday in South Carolina, the first state with a predominantly black Democratic electorate to weigh in. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is mostly bunkered down there in hopes of rejuvenating his candidacy, while Mr. Sanders is mixing in trips to Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia, just as he made stops in California ahead of the Nevada caucuses.
Onstage, Elizabeth Warren kept up the same attacks on Michael R. Bloomberg that earned her a financial windfall — $9 million from 250,000 donors in three days last week — but now she must convert that to votes. She mixed in some fresh comparisons in her approach to Mr. Sanders, but her intensity prosecuting that case paled in comparison with the broadsides against Mr. Bloomberg.
Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, who have found little traction among black voters, were more on the periphery of the debate and have begun hunting for delegate opportunities across the map, as Ms. Klobuchar headlined a recent rally in far-off Fargo, N.D.
Finally, the billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent tens of millions of dollars in the first three contests with zero delegates to show for it, is making what could be his last stand in South Carolina.