After taking a shellacking on Saturday from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Nevada Caucuses, the other candidates in the Democratic Party race for President hit South Carolina on Monday with little time left to slow the front runner in the Democratic Party battle for the White House, trying to find a formula to propel their campaigns at a critical time in the race.
"I know you're hearing on TV a lot, 'Bernie can't win,'" Sanders told a Monday night dinner hosted by the South Carolina state Democratic Party, as he opened his final week of campaigning.
"Don't believe everything you hear," Sanders said, as a Tuesday night debate loomed in Charleston.
The candidate given the best chance to stop Sanders in the Palmetto State would seem to be former Vice President Joe Biden, who rallied with supporters at the College of Charleston on Monday night.
Biden said nothing about Sanders, but made clear to his audience at the College of Charleston that a lot is on the line this week.
"You in fact are likely to determine who the next President will be," Biden said. "And it all starts in South Carolina."
In Charleston, @JoeBiden tries to rev up supporters with this plea: “It all starts here in South Carolina.” pic.twitter.com/hTOB9fVwFm— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) February 25, 2020
Biden spent no time on his Democratic colleagues, instead focusing all of his ire on President Donald Trump.
"This President has done more to destroy the essence of who we are as a nation than any President in history," Biden said.
Biden did not have Charleston to himself, as candidates were either speaking to the state party dinner, or holding their own rallies across town.
"Hello Charleston!" Elizabeth Warren said at her own rally, as the Massachusetts Democrat stuck with the roots of her stump speech, and focused on her many plans for 'structural change.'
"It is time for a wealth tax in America," Warren said to cheers, as she told the crowd to remember, "the first $50 million is 'free and clear.'"
Wrapping up her speech, Warren almost seemed to plead with her audience to drum up support for her on Saturday, as she tries to find a way forward through Super Tuesday.
"This is our moment," Warren said. "Vote for me - but more - get in this fight."
Für eine Reichensteuer und einen „big structural change“: Elizabeth #Warren in Charleston/South Carolina. Ob die linke Senatorin bei der hiesigen Primary am Samstag besser abschneidet als bisher? 🇺🇸 #Warren2020 @welt pic.twitter.com/fKm848a5Rr— daniel.sturm (@SturmDaniel) February 24, 2020
Crowd for Warren in Charleston (w/ a high energy intro from Rep. Alyanna Pressley) pic.twitter.com/mBc3LSX2aq— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) February 24, 2020
On Sunday in Arlington, Virginia, Pete Buttigieg drew 7,000 people to an outdoor football stadium, with hundreds more forced to listen from outside the gates.
But it was a much smaller audience which greeted the Indiana mayor at an event in North Charleston on Monday evening, as Buttigieg made his pitch for votes in Saturday's primary.
Polls have consistently shown Buttigieg struggling to break into double digits in the Palmetto State - as the Buttigieg schedule also has him traveling to other states this week, with Super Tuesday looming on March 3.
Pete Buttigieg’s North Charleston evening event five days from the South Carolina primary. pic.twitter.com/1kn9YCy4ES— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) February 24, 2020
While last week's debate saw the knives get sharpened for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it could be Sanders who is in for the biggest challenge on Tuesday night.
"I am absolutely confident that no matter who wins, we are going to unite," Sanders said.
"Donald Trump is a one term President," the independent Senator from Vermont added.
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