Democratic debate in South Carolina
Joe Biden and Tom Steyer attacked each other’s records on race in a tense exchange as the two men vie for the support of African American voters in South Carolina ahead of Saturday’s primary.
Biden lambasted the billionaire businessman for investing in private prisons.
“They hogtied young men in prison here in this state. They in fact made sure that in Georgia they did not have health care for the people that were being held,” he said.
“You wrote the crime bill,” Steyer shot back, referencing the 1994 legislation signed into law by former President Bill Clinton and noting that it had imposed stiff mandatory minimum sentences that had left hundreds of thousands of black and brown people in jail.
“Tommy come lately,” Biden quipped as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar interjected and ended the exchange.
We're tracking approximate speaking times during tonight's debate. As of the first commercial break, Sen. Elizabeth Warren currently leads the pack with almost six minutes, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. See the full breakdown below, and follow along live here.
Addressing her fellow candidates on stage, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, "If we spend the next four months tearing our party apart, we're going to watch Donald Trump spend the next four years tearing our country apart."
She continued by pointing out that she does not think Bernie Sanders is the right person to nominate.
"I like Bernie. We came in together to the Senate. But I do not think that this is the best person to lead the ticket."
Elizabeth Warren called out Michael Bloomberg over reports he told a female employee, who told him she was pregnant, to "kill it."
Bloomberg denied having made the comment, shooting back: "I never said that."
Warren also hit Bloomberg for backing the Republican senator, Scott Brown, she challenged and defeated in 2012.
The Massachusetts senator first brought up Bloomberg's support for GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, who narrowly held off Democratic challenger Katie McGinty in 2016.
"He dumped $12 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race to help re-elect an anti-choice, right-wing Republican senator. And I just want to say, the woman challenger was terrific," Warren said of the Toomey-McGinty race.
Then Warren turned to her own race.
"In 2012, (Bloomberg) scooped in to try to defend another Republican senator against a woman challenger," Warren said. "That was me. It didn't work, but he tried hard."
Asked if he thought New York City's implementation of "stop and frisk" under former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was racist, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded, "Yes, in effect, it was."
He added: "Because it was about profiling people based on their race."
Buttigieg went on to point out that he's "conscious of the fact that there are seven white people on this stage talking about racial justice."
" None of us — none of us have the experience, the lived experience of -- for example, walking down the street, or in a mall, and feeling feeling eyes on us, regarding us as dangerous, without knowing the first thing about us justice because of the color of our skin."
Pete Buttigieg used an exchange with Bernie Sanders over the number of billionaires who have donated to his campaign to hit back at the Vermont senator — and then raise some money.
Sanders, hitting back at a number of attacks he was facing on Tuesday, said, “Americans don't want candidates to be running to billionaires for huge amounts of funding.” He specifically called out Buttigieg.
The former mayor said it was “untrue” and noted that his campaign has donations from more than 2,000 people “in Charleston alone.”
“Grassroots contributions are the life blood of my campaign,” Buttigieg said, then turned the answer into a pitch for his own campaign. “I shouldn't miss the opportunity, if you're watching right now and you support my campaign go to peteforamerica.com, and chip in,” he said. “And if you are watching right now, and you're a billionaire, I will raise your taxes. But if you'd like to defeat Donald Trump, please go to peteforamerica.com and donate legal maximum of $2,800.”
Sanders was seen laughing at the pitch.
Joe Biden criticized Bernie Sanders for his votes against the Brady Bill in 1993 and reports that the Vermont senator considered a primary campaign against then-President Barack Obama in 2012 — which Sanders denies.
Biden said he’d sought a longer waiting period before handgun purchases in the Brady Bill than what Sanders had supported. He noted that the debate was taking place within walking distance of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the site of a 2015 massacre at which a white supremacist gunman left nine dead.
“I’m not saying he’s responsible for the nine deaths, but that man would not have been able to get that weapon had the waiting period been what I suggested,” Biden said.
He also pointed to reports about Sanders having considered a primary challenge against Obama — a potentially significant negative for Sanders in South Carolina, a state where more than half the Democratic primary electorate is African American.
“Let’s talk about progressive: Progressive is getting things done, and that’s what we got done — we got a lot done,” Biden said.
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."
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."