Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls took head-to-head for the 10th time on Tuesday night in South Carolina debate ahead of the primary to be held on Saturday.
Candidates Hound Each Other
With things heating up in the last debate in Nevada, the candidates took it further up a notch, this time frequently talking over each other and the moderators.
Late entrant to the race Michael Bloomberg, who was thrashed by the Democratic rivals in the last debate over racism and sexism, seemed to hold his ground better this time around.
Bernie Sanders, who emerged the winner in Nevada primary, seemed to be the main target for Democratic rivals, with even the fellow progressive candidate Elizabeth Warren pointing her guns at the Vermont senator. Warren again clashed with Bloomberg over complaints of sexual harassment.
The two moderates, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar seem to have called a truce, even if temporarily, on their arguments from the last debate as the two mostly kept off each other.
Sanders Would Be A ‘Catastrophe'
"Bernie will lose to Donald Trump, and Donald Trump and the House and the Senate and some of the statehouses will all go red," Bloomberg said during the debate.
"Can you imagine moderate Republicans voting for him?" the billionaire asked, later adding that Sanders' nomination would be a "catastrophe."
Bloomberg further pointed out the recent warning from intelligence officials that Russia is trying to interfere in United States elections by supporting Sanders' candidacy for the Democratic nomination and, ultimately, the reelection of President Donald Trump.
Sanders hit back, addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin on television. "Hey, Mr. Putin, if I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more elections."
Buttigieg, who has previously targeted Sanders for what he says are extremist policies, said that Sanders' nomination is simply conceding another term to Trump.
"If you think the last four years have been chaotic, divisive, toxic, exhausting, imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump," Buttigieg said.
As other candidates targeted Sanders, Warren took the opportunity to argue how she would make a better president than her fellow progressive. "I dug in, I did the work, and then Bernie's team trashed me," she said on "enacting a progressive agenda."
Klobuchar aimed at both Warren and Sanders at the same time, saying they don't have much to show for their work as senators. "It matters if you can actually get things done," she added.
Bloomberg v/s Warren, Round Two
Bloomberg seemed better prepared for his second clash with Warren, who asked him to release multiple women from non-disclosure agreements related to sexual harassment allegations against him.
"The trouble is -- with this senator -- enough is never enough," Bloomberg said, claiming that he has released three women from the non-disclosure agreements, "We did what she asked and thank you, you've probably made the world better because of it."
The former New York Mayor, who frequently invoked the 9/11 attacks during the debate, criticized Warren's proposed policy of withdrawing American troops from the middle-east.
"This is a dangerous world," Bloomberg said. "If we haven't learned that after 9/11, I don't know what's going to teach us."
Warren further attacked Bloomberg for funding the election campaigns of several right-wing politicians opposed to women's right to choose abortion. Bloomberg, in turn, claimed for the Democratic control of the House of Representatives.
All the new democrats that came in the House and "put Nancy Pelosi in charge, and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I got them," Bloomberg said.
Biden Sure Of Victory
Former vice-president Joe Biden may not have had the best luck in the primaries so far, but he is certain of a clear victory in South Carolina.
The African-American community has historically backed Biden, and he is sure of their support once again.
"My entire life, I have been involved with the black community. I was a public defender. I worked in the projects. I came along and the first thing I did as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee was extending the Voting Rights Act eventually for 25 years," Biden said.
"I will win South Carolina," Biden asserted, as he failed to make it to the top three in the first two primaries but was only next to Sanders in Nevada.
According to a Reuters and Ipsos poll, Biden will face intense competition from Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer in the state, who is yet to make an impression in the primaries.
This was the last debate ahead of Super Tuesday primaries on March 3, which can make or break the campaign of the bigwig candidates.
The next Democratic Debate will take place on March 15 ahead of Florida, Arizona, Illinois, and Ohio primaries on March 17.
Photo Credit: Screenshot of Online Stream.
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