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South Carolina Democratic debate live updates: Candidates faced off in Charleston

The 10th Democratic debate was the last before the nominating contests in South Carolina on Saturday and 14 other states on Super Tuesday.
Image: Seven Democratic candidates will take the stage in a primary debate in South Carolina on Feb. 25, 2020.
Seven Democratic candidates will take the stage in a primary debate in South Carolina on Feb. 25, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The leading Democratic presidential candidates came out swinging at the party's 10th debate in Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday night.

The debate quickly descended into chaos as the current front-runner, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, faced a torrent of attacks from all sides, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren confronted former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg over his treatment of women, and several of the candidates literally shouted over each other about health care.

The two-hour debate, co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, is the final verbal bout before the candidates head into South Carolina's primary on Saturday and the Super Tuesday nominating contests of 14 states on March 3, where more than a third of Democratic National Convention delegates are up for grabs.

Download the NBC News app for full politics coverage.

Read our debate coverage:

1017d ago / 2:40 AM UTC

Sanders doesn’t commit when asked whether he would move embassy in Israel

Asked whether he would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv after the Trump administration moved it to Jerusalem in May 2018, Sanders, who is Jewish, said it is "something we would take into consideration," but he didn't provide much more of an answer past that.

Trump's decision to move the embassy delighted the Israeli government but angered Palestinians and brought concerns that it could further destabilize a fraught region, and it has been a point of contention since. 

Many are curious where Sanders would land. The progressive Vermont senator has received much criticism for his stance on Israel, and the recent fight he has picked with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is considered the direct lobbying arm of the Israeli government, has only made that intrigue pick up steam. 

Sanders, who has argued that the U.S. must also be supportive of a Palestinian state, said AIPAC is a platform for "leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights." 

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1017d ago / 2:39 AM UTC

In a feisty debate, Bloomberg picks two particular targets

Bloomberg has spent the first 90 minutes of tonight's debate retaliating against Sanders and Warren, the two who have lobbed the most attacks toward him.

Mostly, Bloomberg's approach tonight has revolved around attacking Trump and saying he has what it takes to beat the president.

The only other candidate Bloomberg has attacked is Biden, who has yet to target Bloomberg. Last week, Biden attacked Bloomberg 12 times, focusing on his contentious stop-and-frisk policy when he was mayor of New York and his non-disclosure agreements with women who have worked for him.

Get the latest with the NBC News debate attack tracker.

A graphic showing who Mike Bloomberg is attacking and getting attacked by.
1017d ago / 2:32 AM UTC

Buttigieg refers to the rural hospital crisis

Buttigieg pointed out that states that haven't expanded Medicaid have seen higher rates of hospital closings, and he noted that those states have larger minority populations that then cannot get health care coverage. That's true, according to an Urban Institute accounting, and an outsize percentage of communities of colors in those states carry medical debt that is now in collections. 

The medical debt is incurred at hospitals, which people go to in emergencies when facing dire health crises. When they don't have insurance coverage to pay for their treatment, they take on that debt, injuring their credit and economic situations long term. It also means poor rural hospitals don't receive reimbursement for treating those patients.

By refusing the Medicaid expansion that states were offered through the Affordable Care Act, the South Carolina government has rejected more than $10.5 billion since 2014, which would provide health care coverage to nearly 200,000 low-income people — many of whom are members of minority groups.

The decisions of the 15 states that have declined expansion have contributed to a rural hospital crisis in which 166 infirmaries have closed nationwide since 2005 — four alone in South Carolina — according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The crisis peaked in 2019 with the closings of 19 facilities in the U.S., and four more have shut their doors this year.

1017d ago / 2:30 AM UTC

Democratic candidates slam 'great genius' Trump for botching coronavirus response

Democratic presidential candidates criticized President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus outbreak during their debate Tuesday night, blasting budget cuts his administration has made to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and his thrashing of the U.S.'s international relationships.

"This president has not invested like he should have in his budget. He tried to cut back on the CDC. He tried to cut back on the international organizations that would coordinate with the rest of the world. He hasn't yet really addressed the nation on this topic," Amy Klobuchar said. "I would do all of that."

The question about the outbreak gave Klobuchar a chance to issue a public warning: "This is so serious I'm not going to give my website. I'm going to give the CDC's website, which is CDC.gov."

Asked how he would deal with the crisis, Biden touted his experience fighting Ebola when he was vice president and vowed to restore funding and to push China: "You have to be open. You have to be clear. We have to know what's going on."

Sanders took the opportunity to go after Trump but also used it to pivot to other issues that require international coordination, climate change in particular.

Read the full story here.

1017d ago / 2:23 AM UTC

Fact check: Biden attacks Sanders' record on guns

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Biden hammered Sanders over his record on guns multiple times Tuesday night, while Sanders defended himself as a reliable supporter of gun control. 

"Walking distance from here is Mother Emanuel church," Biden said. "Nine people shot dead by a white supremacist. Bernie voted five times against the Brady bill and wanted a waiting period — no, let me finish — a waiting period of 12 hours."

It's true that Sanders has had a voting record that many gun control advocates consider checkered, and he has only more recently aligned with the Democratic Party on certain gun control issues. And he did vote against multiple iterations of the Brady bill, which required waiting periods for people buying guns — five times in total, according to PolitiFact

Biden also hit Sanders for his 2005 vote to shield gun manufacturers and dealers from legal liabilities, which Sanders was asked about by a moderator. 

"I have cast thousands of votes, including bad votes. That was a bad vote," Sanders said.

He went on to defend his record: "I have today a D-minus voting record from the NRA. Thirty years ago, I likely lost a race for the one seat for Congress in Vermont because 30 years ago, I opposed — I supported a ban on assault weapons."

While Sanders is right that his most recent rating from the National Rifle Association is a D-minus and that he did lose his 1988 congressional race, multiple outlets have said the reason he lost isn't so clear cut

1017d ago / 2:21 AM UTC

Bloomberg refers to coronavirus

Bloomberg is the first candidate to bring up the ongoing public health issue around the new coronavirus, about which the CDC sounded alarms earlier Tuesday.

He hit Trump for letting CDC funding lapse related to fighting global pandemics.

But that wasn't enough for Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. 

1017d ago / 2:19 AM UTC

Who gets to talk about race?

Debate moderators asked some of the candidates to state their positions on race issues but left out Klobuchar, even though she has been struggling to get support from voters of color and has faced criticism on race (related to her record as a prosecutor).

Just after Steyer discussed reparations, Klobuchar, who said the country needs to elect a candidate from the Midwest, was allowed to shift to a question on rural America.

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1017d ago / 2:18 AM UTC

Poverty, particularly among children, remains high

Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota who has described herself as a champion for often forgotten parts of America, made one of the debate's only references to rural and child poverty Tuesday night.

In South Carolina, a state with many rural communities, about 15 percent of the population lives in poverty, compared to about 12 percent of people nationwide, according to census data. But poverty is an even more pronounced experience for children. While about 16 percent of all children in the United States live in poverty, almost 23 percent of children in South Carolina do so, according to a 2019 Children’s Defense Fund analysis of census data.

1017d ago / 2:08 AM UTC

Nobody puts Biden in a corner

After Biden gave a forceful (and detailed) answer about how to directly address specific issues affecting black Americans, he criticized the moderators for cutting him off.

"I'm not going to be quiet anymore, OK?" he said. 

Biden was quiet during the initial moments of the debate, but as it went on it, he became sharper and more aggressive in his answers. 

1017d ago / 2:04 AM UTC

Know who's not making his presence felt tonight?

President Donald Trump, a frequent target at previous debates, has been attacked by candidates on the debate stage four times in the first hour tonight. At this rate, the debate will tally the fewest attacks on Trump of any debate so far. 

1017d ago / 2:01 AM UTC

ANALYSIS: Ending the filibuster is a good news, bad news proposition

For Democrats, the good news about killing the filibuster is that it would make it easier to pass their agenda.

The bad news — as they might be able to have gleaned from the Trump administration — is that it would make it easier for Republicans to repeal whatever they pass in the future.

For a party that has prided itself on progressive legislating — from Social Security and Medicare to civil rights — the prospects of turning back the clock with a 51-seat Republican majority in the future might seem like a risk.

But then again, without it, two anti-abortion bills would have passed the Senate today.

The allure of jamming a particular Democratic president's plans through the Senate is usually stronger for that president than for the members of the Senate — even from his or her party — who plan to remain in their jobs longer than four or eight years.

The president doesn't have a vote on lowering or eliminating the filibuster threshold. The senators who do aren't likely to support it.

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1017d ago / 1:54 AM UTC

Sanders, Bloomberg getting the brunt of it

The Vermont senator has fielded 23 attacks in the first 45 minutes tonight. That's one more than the number of times he was targeted all night in last week's Nevada debate.

Onstage, Sanders' competitors have alluded to his "Medicare for All" plan and its lack of a price tag, and they have labeled him the most polarizing candidate among them.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has also taken hits, albeit in Sanders' shadow. The former mayor of New York has fielded 13 attacks so far tonight, many of them from Warren regarding his non-disclosure agreements with women who have worked for him.

Follow the latest play-by-play with our debate attack tracker.

1017d ago / 1:54 AM UTC

Bloomberg eager to talk about anti-gun push

During the discussion about guns, Bloomberg eagerly raised his hand and shut down Buttigieg. He eagerly reminded the audience that he has funded an organization with 6 million people who work on anti-gun legislation called Moms Demand Action.

1017d ago / 1:52 AM UTC

Bloomberg hit on NDAs again. What's an NDA, anyway?

Bloomberg told voters watching Tuesday night's debate that he had likely made the country better in the last week by taking a new position on non-disclosure agreements, more commonly known as NDAs.

After a bruising exchange on the Nevada debate stage last week — during which Warren called on Bloomberg to release all current and former employees from NDAs — Bloomberg did move to release three women from such agreements. On Friday,  Bloomberg, CEO of Bloomberg LP, also announced that the company will stop using NDAs in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Over 33 percent of the American workforce has signed non-disclosure agreements in settlements with employers or as requirements of accepting or maintaining jobs. The agreements, typically between individuals and employers, organization or institutions, usually mandate that those who sign them avoid speaking publicly about their experiences or the terms of any settlement agreement.

1017d ago / 1:51 AM UTC

Fact check: Did two states kick hundreds of thousands of people off the voting rolls?

"Wisconsin has kicked hundreds of thousands of people off of their voting rolls. Georgia kicked 100,000 off," Klobuchar said Tuesday.

What's she talking about?

It's true that Georgia recently purged 100,000 inactive voters from the voting rolls, but Wisconsin hasn't yet actually completed its purge yet: The registrations of more than 200,000 Wisconsin voters are caught up in litigation, and an appeals court put the planned purge on hold last month.

It's important to note that purges — the elimination of inactive voters from the rolls — are a normal part of roll maintenance. Voting rights activists say purges must be done carefully, however, so active voters aren't caught up in them. There is some indication that the proposed Wisconsin purge and Georgia's aggressive purges are indeed catching active voters.

1017d ago / 1:50 AM UTC
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1017d ago / 1:49 AM UTC

Warren, Buttigieg take Sanders to task for embracing the filibuster

The candidates in most every debate have focused on their plans but not necessarily on how to get them through Congress.

We're hearing a bit more on that tonight. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg took aim at Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders on Tuesday for refusing to support the elimination of the 60-vote rule to pass legislation in the Senate — a rare issue on which he's out of step with many progressive activists.

At the debate here four days before the South Carolina presidential primary Saturday, Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, said scrapping the filibuster and allowing legislation to pass by simple majority votes is essential to "get something done" in the Senate over the objections of Republicans and powerful industry groups.

"I've been in the Senate, and I've seen gun safety legislation introduced, get a majority and then doesn't pass because of the filibuster," Warren said. "Understand this: The filibuster is giving a veto to the gun industry. It gives a veto to the oil industry. It's going to give a veto on immigration."

Buttigieg grabbed an opening to attack Sanders as too much of an institutionalist for his support of the filibuster.

"This is a current bad position that Bernie holds," Buttigieg said. "It has got to go. Otherwise, Washington would not deliver."

1017d ago / 1:47 AM UTC

WATCH: Warren hits Bloomberg over alleged abortion comment to employee

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1017d ago / 1:45 AM UTC

Plenty of fireworks, and we haven't even had Amy vs. Pete

Warren vs. Bloomberg is making a run at the title of most contentious debate dynamic, but it feels like just a matter of time until Klobuchar and Buttigieg square off as they've done in just about every other debate.

But unlike last time, they're not standing right next to each other. With a few candidates between them, maybe the buffer will cool things off.

Image: Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate In Charleston Ahead Of SC Primary
Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden during the Democratic presidential primary debate on Feb. 25, 2020 in Charleston, S. C.Win McNamee / Getty Images
1017d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

Where are the moderators?

A half-hour into the debate and CBS moderators Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King are noticeably hands off compared to the moderators of previous debates.

This wide-open discussion is encouraging the candidates to shout over one another, with several speaking for long periods of time after elbowing their way back into the conversation.

1017d ago / 1:43 AM UTC

Another nasty exchange between Sanders and Bloomberg

The growing spat between Sanders and Bloomberg escalated with a pair of tit-for-tat attack lines delivered by both candidates during their umpteenth nasty exchange Tuesday night. 

"We will elect Bernie, Bernie will lose to Donald Trump," Bloomberg said, laying out his vision for what would follow if Sanders wins the Democratic nomination. He added that if Sanders leads the ticket, the Senate, the House and "some of the statehouses ... will all go red."

"For 20 years we are going to live with this catastrophe," Bloomberg said.

Sanders was ready to hit back, slamming Bloomberg for having a "solid and strong and enthusiastic base of support."

"The problem is they're all billionaires," he added.

1017d ago / 1:42 AM UTC

Bloomberg hit for donating to Republican campaigns

While Bloomberg has dedicated much of his fortune to Democratic causes, the former mayor of New York has recently gotten flack — especially from Warren — for donating to Republican candidates. 

The biggest criticism is the money Bloomberg donated to Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who faced a tough re-election campaign in 2016. Bloomberg donated nearly $12 million to get Toomey re-elected because he had pushed to expand background checks, a key gun control item Bloomberg had pushed for through his nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety. 

Toomey won re-election by less than 2 percentage points, and Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by less than a percentage point, leading to a fair amount of finger-pointing at the mayor in 2020. 

Bloomberg — a former Republican who became an independent and then a Democrat — has in the past donated to more than a few Republican causes. Often, it appears, this was to further his own policy priorities. That hasn't helped him gain trust among some Democrats. 

1017d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

Analysis: A train wreck

So far, the debate is a train wreck for Democrats — candidates slinging rocks at one another and moderators having lost any or all control.

Most of the candidates have accused Sanders, the front-runner, of promoting an agenda that would lose the election and destroy their party up and down the ballot.

Several said Bloomberg's "stop and frisk" policy when he was mayor of New York was "racist."

Bloomberg himself almost said he "bought" the Democratic Congress before he corrected himself and said he "got" the Democratic Congress. Warren pointed to Bloomberg's contributions to Republican lawmakers.

They all yelled to be heard.

No one looked good in the first half-hour.

Image:
Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar in the Democratic presidential primary debate on Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C.Patrick Semansky / AP
1017d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

Fact check: Bloomberg claims stop-and-frisk 'got out control,' so he cut it back

Bloomberg again claimed that he reined in the use of stop-and-frisk after it got "out of control" when he was mayor of New York.

"We let it get out of control, and when I realized that, I cut it back by 95 percent, and I've apologized and asked for forgiveness," he said. 

This is still a false representation. Bloomberg championed and expanded the stop-and-frisk policing practice — the strategy that gave police the authority to detain people suspected of committing a crime, which led to a practice of stopping mostly black and Hispanic men — during his three terms of mayor.

The practice was scaled back significantly thanks to a 2013 court order declaring the policy unconstitutional, not Bloomberg's change of heart.

1017d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

Biden stays quiet, then gets mad

Biden, the former frontrunner, was somewhat absent during the first moments of the debate. But came out strong when he told the other candidate to shut up so he could speak. He hit Steyer over his support of private prisons and shut down Sanders when he tried to chime in, which earned his cheers from the debate hall. 

A strong performance ahead of the primary could help him and, before now, he had only attacked Sanders over guns and forcefully declared that he will win the South Carolina primary, which his campaign has dubbed his firewall. 

In the Nevada debate, Biden had a strong performance and came in second place in the Nevada caucuses. In South Carolina, his black support has been chipped away at by other candidates. If he sits back and lets the others attack will it allow him to go into the primary without many bruises or will it make him look feeble to voters here who wants a fighter against Trump? We’ll see. 

1017d ago / 1:36 AM UTC
1017d ago / 1:33 AM UTC

Health care reruns

This is the 10th Democratic debate, and the candidates are arguing over the math of health care plans ... again. Feels like the same exchange could have happened in the first debate — and it probably did. But this is South Carolina, where health care is a critical issue for the electorate.

1017d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

Biden and the black vote. It’s make or break.

Asked about his sliding polling numbers with black voters, Biden vowed to win South Carolina.

“I’ve worked like the devil to earn the vote in the African American community,” Biden said. “I intend to win South Carolina and I will win the African American vote here in South Carolina.”

Biden, once considered the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary race, has seen his standing slide as overwhelmingly white electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire handed more votes to candidates like Buttigieg and Klobuchar. In Nevada, Sanderssuccess with Latino voters has been credited with securing a victory in that state’s caucus last week. 

Biden’s campaign needs both the narrative and fundraising boost that could come with a victory in South Carolina. And, due to the state’s demographics, the key to such a victory could lie with black voters.

1017d ago / 1:27 AM UTC
1017d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

Warren rips into Bloomberg — again

Warren used her first substantial speaking time at Tuesday night’s debate to slam Bloomberg, saying that his past support of Republicans amounts to being the “riskiest candidate” on the stage and a candidate unworthy of Democratic voters’ trust.

“Who funded Lindsey Graham’s campaign for re-election last time? It was Mayor Bloomberg. And that’s not the only right-wing senators he has funded,” Bloomberg said. 

She also referred to his backing of Scott Brown, Warren’s competition in the 2012 Senate election.

“It didn’t work, but he tried hard,” she said.

“I don't care how much money Mayor Bloomberg has. The core of the Democratic Party will never trust him. He has not earned their trust,” Warren said. “He is the riskiest candidate on this stage.”

Warren also opened her speaking time in last week’s debate in Las Vegas with a scorching attack on Bloomberg.

1017d ago / 1:26 AM UTC

Bloomberg parries on stop-and-frisk

Bloomberg was once again asked about stop-and-frisk, a policy that overwhelmingly targeted minorities and was ended by a federal judge. He apologized for the policy, but pivoted to ones that have made New York City safer. 

Buttigieg criticized Bloomberg and said the policy was racist. He said that South Bend, Indiana, has had its own issues with race and that it’s important to be more conscious about racial inequality. 

Bloomberg tried to atone, saying he “knows that my success would have been a lot harder to achieve” if he were black. 

1017d ago / 1:21 AM UTC

Fact check: Is half of America living paycheck to paycheck?

Sanders argued that the economy wasn't working for working people Tuesday, claiming that “real wage increases” were less than 1 percent for the average worker and that “half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck.” Is he right?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real average hourly earnings increased 0.6 percent for the year that ended in 2019. Meanwhile, it's true that several studies have found that roughly half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck — here’s one from this year and another from last year.

1017d ago / 1:20 AM UTC

Buttigieg says Russia wants ‘chaos’ — experts say he’s right

Buttigieg jumped in on Bloomberg bringing up claims that Russia and Putin are backing Sanders. Buttigieg says Russia doesn’t have a party, it wants “chaos.”

This is also what many national security experts say. 

“The only thing we should assume to know for sure is that Putin and the Kremlin, with a singular influence campaign employed headed into the 2016 election, have continued to sow discord in America ever since and have achieved a strategic victory against the U.S. that continues to provide returns today,” wrote Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent and current MSNBC contributor.

1017d ago / 1:18 AM UTC

Amy Klobuchar gets onto the board after more than 15 minutes.

1017d ago / 1:17 AM UTC

Warren goes straight after Sanders

Warren, after a strong debate performance in Nevada last week attacking Bloomberg, went straight for Sanders, the new front-runner, saying she is the better progressive because she can actually get her agenda enacted. 

She said the party needs “someone who digs into the details," and while Sanders' people trashed her plans, his plans do not have details or a blueprint to get enacted.

Warren's going after Sanders is important because her campaign has been struggling and is often viewed as the alternative to Sanders but has not garnered the same momentum as his campaign. 

1017d ago / 1:16 AM UTC

Early on, Bernie Sanders is the focus

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The start of this debate couldn't have looked more different for Mike Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, who was attacked 10 times in the first 10 minutes of last week's debate, was attacked only once in the first 10 minutes tonight.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, was attacked seven times in that time, the most of any candidate on the stage and close to half of the 15 attacks doled out early on.

Follow the latest numbers with our South Carolina debate attack tracker.

1017d ago / 1:14 AM UTC

Debate begins with economy question to Sanders — but quickly derails into Russia discussion

The debate opened with a question on the economy to Sanders — but his response (as well as an ensuing response from Bloomberg) prompted the topic to quickly shift to Russian interference in elections. 

After being asked about why voters should support him, when the economy is growing under President Donald Trump, Sanders used his reply to take a shot at Bloomberg.

The economy, Sanders said, is only doing well “for Mr. Bloomberg” and “other billionaires” but that “things aren’t so good” for ordinary Americans.

Bloomberg received an immediate opportunity to respond, saying that “I think that Donald Trump thinks it would be better if he were president.”

“That’s why Russia is helping you, so you lose to him,” Bloomberg said. The line was a reference to reports that he had been briefed about efforts by the Kremlin to try to to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic primary and the 2020 election.

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1017d ago / 1:12 AM UTC

Yang's watching — and tweeting — tonight

1017d ago / 1:08 AM UTC

Buttigieg gets endorsement of S.C.'s largest paper

On Tuesday, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, The State, endorsed Buttigieg. The Columbia newspaper’s endorsement went to Buttigieg despite his lagging performance with black voters, the majority of the state’s Democratic voters.

The paper’s editorial board described Buttigieg as the type of “energetic” and “disciplined” candidate with a “powerful yet pragmatic vision” needed to challenge Trump in November.

“The Democrats need a nominee who seeks to bring Americans together based on broad common ground — and not divide them along narrow interests,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. “Among the Democratic presidential candidates, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the best person to meet these challenges.”

Black voters make up more than 60 percent of South Carolina’s Democratic voters and about 30 percent of all registered voters in the state, according to census estimates from November 2018. The paper’s editorial board described developing support among black voters as Buttigieg’s “biggest challenge” and suggested that readers should evaluate Buttigieg in this area by effort, rather than outcome.

“Too often Buttigieg’s critics have ignored his substantive efforts to earn the support of black voters, and Buttigieg’s appeals to African Americans should be judged by this standard: Is his outreach genuine, and is it being undertaken in good faith?” the editorial board wrote. “We believe that it is.”

1017d ago / 1:06 AM UTC

Gabby Giffords wants 'serious debate on gun violence'

1017d ago / 12:59 AM UTC

Sanders 'looking forward' to 'enthusiastic support' from opponents on stage

1017d ago / 12:58 AM UTC

The scene outside the debate venue

1017d ago / 12:56 AM UTC

'Confessions' from South Carolina

What do South Carolinians have to say about the candidates?

On NBC News' Election Confessions, people from across the United States have shared more than 60,000 musings about the candidates, the country and its condition. Here are a few from what people in South Carolina have written.

A confession about Tom Steyer: "Has implemented great ideas.Built up a business from zero. Could repair our country. Moderate policies. Public face needs polish."
A confession about Bernie Sanders: "I never felt the burn. He's not a Dem, quit fooling yourselves"

Read the rest of the election confessions here.

1017d ago / 12:54 AM UTC
1017d ago / 12:50 AM UTC
1017d ago / 12:50 AM UTC

Sanders' comments leave out crucial parts of Cuba's history, Cuban Americans, scholars say

Carmen Peláez, a Cuban American playwright, filmmaker and active Democrat, said she was “gobsmacked” when she heard presidential candidate Bernie Sanders praise Cuba’s education and health care system during a "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night.

“I was amazed he was arrogant enough to equivocate on behalf of a Communist revolution, considering he needs Florida to win,” said Peláez, whose parents fled Cuba in the 1960s. “Today, I know I can’t vote for Sanders."

Sanders’ comments on Cuba have created uproar and outrage in Florida, one of the most important battleground states in the country. Many Cubans in the United States say Sanders’ portrayal of 1960s Cuba does not paint the entire picture of what was really unfolding in the country at the time.

During the "60 Minutes" interview, Sanders defended comments he made in 1985 saying Cubans did not join the U.S. in overthrowing Castro during the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion because he educated kids, gave them health care, and “totally transformed society.” At a CNN town hall Monday night, Sanders was asked if he wanted to respond to the criticism, but he doubled down on his previous comments.

Read the full story here.

1017d ago / 12:40 AM UTC

After unloading on Sanders, Hillary Clinton walks back not committing to him as nominee

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night walked back scathing comments in which she would not commit to backing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the Democratic presidential nominee and said "nobody likes him."

"He was in Congress for years," Clinton says in the soon-to-be-released four-part Hulu documentary "Hillary," The Hollywood Reporter said in a report on Tuesday. "He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."

Asked by the publication in an interview released Tuesday whether her assessment still stands, Clinton said, "Yes, it does." And she would not commit to endorsing Sanders, who backed her as the Democratic nominee following the 2016 primaries, if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

But Tuesday evening, Clinton amended her comments. Read what she said here.

1017d ago / 12:36 AM UTC
1017d ago / 12:35 AM UTC

Bloomberg says he's shown he can beat Trump

1017d ago / 12:30 AM UTC

Bloomberg has a plan to turn around his debate fortunes: hammer Bernie Sanders

Billionaire ex-New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has a plan to improve his performance after what was widely panned as a subpar showing during last week's Democratic primary debate. The strategy: make Tuesday's contest all about Bernie Sanders.

A top Bloomberg campaign official who spoke with NBC News said the debate "is definitely going to be about Bernie Sanders" after the Democratic frontrunner scored a commanding victory in Nevada and has skyrocketed ahead of the rest of the field in recent national polling.

"It's everyone's last opportunity to really hold him accountable and really challenge his record," the aide said of the last debate before the pivotal Super Tuesday contest. "And so we have to take on the front-runner on that stage. And that's Bernie."

Read how Bloomberg plans to target Sanders at the debate.