Biden thanks South Carolina after primary win

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is thanking South Carolina voters after his victory in the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

Biden tweeted Saturday night shortly after the polls closed: “Thank you, South Carolina!” He says, “To all those who have been knocked down, counted out, and left behind — this is your campaign.”

Biden’s South Carolina watch party erupted when The Associated Press and television networks called the state’s primary for him.

The Columbia scene, with more than a thousand supporters filling the University of South Carolina’s volleyball gymnasium, was quite different compared to that in Iowa and New Hampshire just weeks ago.

Biden’s Iowa crowd was late arriving and obviously relieved when a meltdown of the caucus count spared Biden having to acknowledge his fourth-place finish. In New Hampshire, Biden wasn’t even there for his fifth-place finish, having bailed on the state to speak in South Carolina.

Biden finished his tweet by saying, “Together, we will win this nomination and beat Donald Trump.”

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7 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has won South Carolina’s Democratic primary.

It was his first victory in three tries at the Democratic nomination, and it came during the fourth Democratic primary contest of the 2020 election season.

Biden’s win could work to blunt front-runner Bernie Sanders’ momentum heading into Super Tuesday, when 14 states and American Samoa weigh in on the race.

Only Biden and California billionaire Tom Steyer planned to mark primary night in the state, as the rest of the field stumped across the spectrum of Super Tuesday states that vote next week.

About 40% of voters in South Carolina picked health care as the top issue, while 22% said the economy and jobs are most important. That’s according to an AP VoteCast survey of the electorate. Fourteen percent of voters identified climate change.

Close to 9 in 10 Democratic voters said it’s important for their nominee to be a strong leader.

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5:45 p.m.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says it’s time for a major revamping of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign if the former vice president is going to be successful.

Clyburn announced his endorsement of Biden earlier in the week. But the South Carolina Democrat told CNN that “we will have to sit down and get serious about how we retool this campaign” following his state’s primary Saturday. If Biden wins the contest, Clyburn said, “many of us around the country will be able to join with him and help him get it right.”

He added, “You’ll see a massive difference in the campaign efforts.”

Clyburn is the highest-ranking black member of Congress and South Carolina’s Democratic kingmaker. He endorsed Biden in the hope of giving his campaign the boost it needed following earlier contests. Clyburn said Saturday that he’d had concerns about the campaign, including its lagging fundraising, but hadn’t felt comfortable addressing it before his endorsement.

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4:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is using his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference to make fun of his Democratic opponents.

Trump on Saturday mocked Joe Biden’s gaffes, which include naming the wrong state he was campaigning in. Trump says the former vice president couldn’t be “easier to beat.”

Trump was impeached last year by the Democratic-led House after pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter while putting a hold on military aid to the country. Trump was acquitted earlier this month by the Republican-led Senate.

Trump also mocked Mike Bloomberg, whom he frequently derides as “Mini Mike” for his stature. Noting Elizabeth Warren’s biting criticism of Bloomberg at the debate, Trump imitated Bloomberg wanting to get off the stage.

The president crouched down in front of the lectern, with just part of his face showing, and said, “Get me off this stage!” as the audience roared.

Trump’s speech came as Democrats in South Carolina headed to the polls to decide which candidate should be the party’s presidential nominee.

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4:10 p.m.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren says a nondisclosure agreement concerning Bernie Sanders’ political advocacy group and a political consultant who alleged racial discrimination should be released.

Warren told reporters in Columbia on Saturday that, while she did not know the details, “my views on the NDA is to cover up the women’s stories here. I believe the NDA should be released.”

On Friday, The Associated Press reported that Our Revolution entered into a nondisclosure agreement with a black political consultant that bars her from discussing a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at the organization and the Vermont senator’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The consultant confirmed the existence of the nondisclosure agreement to the AP without providing additional details. Neither Warren nor Sanders planned to be in South Carolina Saturday night as votes were tallied in that state’s primary.

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