Democratic debate in South Carolina

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8:26 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Sanders: "The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg"

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders said the economy is “doing really great” for billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, and said his own campaign is about creating an “economy for all.”

CBS’s Norah O’Donnell said, “We haven't had a national unemployment rate this low for this long in 50 years. Here in South Carolina, the unemployment rate is even lower. How will you convince voters that a Democratic Socialist can do better than President Trump with with the economy? 

“Well, you're right. The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires,” Sanders responded. 

He said billionaires have seen an increase in wealth in the last several years, while many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. 

“For for the ordinary American, things are not so good,” Sanders said. 

“That is not an economy that's working for the American people," he said. "That's an economy working for the 1%. We're going to create an economy for all, not just wealthy campaign contributors."

8:28 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Bloomberg claims Russia is "helping" Sanders get elected

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

In an early tense exchange, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg attacked front runner Bernie Sanders directly claiming "Russia is helping you get elected."

Sanders snapped back, "Oh, Mr. Bloomberg."

Sanders continued: "Hey, Mr. Putin, if I'm President of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections." 

8:20 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Warren: "Bernie's team trashed me" over Medicare for All

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren has been quietly chipping away at her progressive pal Bernie Sanders for weeks.

On Tuesday night, she upped the ante during her opening comments. Warren said she was on Sanders' side on a number of issues, but then attacked the front-runner over his approach to health care.

"Bernie and I both want to see universal health care, but Bernie’s plan doesn’t explain how to get there. Doesn’t show how we’re going to get enough allies into it and doesn’t show enough about how we’re gonna pay for it," Warren said.

And then, the dagger:

"I dug in, I did the work (on the financing) and then Bernie’s team trashed me for it," Warren said.

Warren was subject to some progressive criticism after she released her Medicare for All financing and transition plans. Sanders and his campaign offered some mild criticism. His supporters, though, were more aggressive, questioning Warren's commitment to the legislation.

8:18 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

This is the first time Sanders is at center stage solo

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is standing in center stage solo — for the first time.

Why this matters: It reflects his clear front-runner status.

Also new onstage tonight is the podium order.

Pete Buttigieg standing between Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren. CBS said the podium order was determined using a combination of polling averages and the current delegate count.

8:08 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

NOW: The debate has started

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The candidates are now taking the stage at the 10th Democratic debate in South Carolina.

This is the final time that the primary field will appear together onstage before Saturday's South Carolina primary and "Super Tuesday" on March 3.

7:59 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Bloomberg is ready for Warren to bring up confidentiality agreements, aide says

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is prepared to respond to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s demand that he issue a blanket release on all nondisclosure agreements, including those pertaining to his company, his aide said.

On Friday, Bloomberg said that women covered by three nondisclosure agreements who had made complaints against him can be released from those pacts if they contact his company.

“We’re ready for Warren to attack him tonight on NDAs,” the Bloomberg aide said.

What's this about: During the last presidential debate in Nevada, Warren eviscerated Bloomberg for his alleged comments about women and reports that dozens of women who left his company had signed nondisclosure agreements, barring them from publicly discussing their experiences.

Bonnie P. Josephs, the former attorney for one of the women Bloomberg released last week, Sekiko Sakai Garrison, told CNN, “Bloomberg should have released all the NDAs without demanding an application for release, and he should have stated that he would not sue anyone who revealed the truth."

7:53 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Here's the podium order for tonight's debate

CBS has released the order of the debate lineup tonight, with Pete Buttigieg standing between Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren.

The network said the podium order was determined using a combination of polling averages and the current delegate count.

Last week, of course, you’ll remember Bloomberg and Warren were side-by-side.

Here is the lineup of the podium order:

  • Former New York City Michael Bloomberg
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Businessman Tom Steyer

7:44 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Jane Sanders: "Other candidates are really gunning for" Bernie  

Jane Sanders said her husband, Bernie Sanders, expects to be a target at tonight's debate.

CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Jane Sanders, “Is he going into tonight feeling like they’re all going to be coming at him?”

Sanders responded, “Yes, I mean I think that’s what comes with being the front-runner.”
“It’s great to be there, but being in the center of the stage brings people on both sides really going after, from what we’ve seen today leading up to it, a number of the other candidates are really gunning for him,” she said. 

Sanders said some of Michael Bloomberg’s staff “have spoken out ridiculously over the day and his social media is full of really inaccuracies. So it’s worrisome.”

Watch the moment:

8:00 p.m. ET, February 25, 2020

Biden holds narrow lead in new South Carolina poll

Bernie Sanders just might win the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

That's the real headline out of a new poll conducted by NBC and Marist College that shows Sanders trailing longtime South Carolina front-runner Joe Biden by a narrow 27% to 23% margin, with five days of campaigning remaining. (Several recent polls have suggested a similar tightening.)

Roughly 1 in 3 Biden backers in the poll (32%) said they might vote for another candidate on Saturday. Just more than 1 in 10 Sanders supporters (12%) said the same. That's broadly consistent with what we've seen throughout this primary to date; Sanders has the most committed support, while Biden's has been among the least committed.

More on the poll: Among voters with a clear candidate preference or those who had already voted, more than 7 in 10 (72%) Bernie-backers said they "strongly supported" him. Among those with preference for Biden that strong support was at 61%. Again, a clear passion/enthusiasm gap there.

Biden is still the first choice of black voters, but Sanders — and billionaire businessman Tom Steyer — are holding their own. Biden takes 35% among black voters to 20% for Sanders and 19% for Steyer. That's a stunning contrast to the 72 percentage-point margin that Sanders lost black voters to Hillary Clinton by in the 2016 South Carolina primary. For Biden to win, he badly needs to run up the score among black voters — especially because he is losing whites to Sanders in this poll by 8 points. If Sanders and Steyer can combine to win 4 (or so) out of every 10 black votes in Saturday, Biden's path to victory get rockier.

To be clear: Biden still has to be considered the favorite to win on Saturday. He has based his entire campaign on his support in the black community and, more specifically, in the black community in South Carolina. And he's still ahead, according to this NBC-Marist poll as well as plenty of the other available data.

Rep. Richmond, Biden campaign National Co-Chair, says they'll win South Carolina: