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After combative SC debate, 2020 Democrats return to campaign trail

Seven 2020 Democrats took the stage for a raucous debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Tuesday night. With the primary season heating up, so did the candidates’ rhetoric. In particular, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, considered the race’s front-runner, was the target of aggressive criticism. But on Wednesday, the presidential hopefuls were back on the campaign trail. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Democratic presidential candidates hit the trail in South Carolina today, on the heels of last night's raucous debate.

    As Lisa Desjardins reports, the candidates left it all on the stage.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    South Carolina chooses presidents.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In the Palmetto State today, a 2020 Democratic blitz.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:

    I am ready to fight.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:

    Please, bring your friends, your neighbors, your family members.

  • Pete Buttigieg:

    I am here to ask for your vote.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the leader nationally, is trying to pull off a surprise win here, adding event after event.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    Now, to defeat Trump, you cannot run a conventional campaign. Same old, same old is not going to do it.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But former Vice President Joe Biden has long led the pack in the state, and, for him, South Carolina is a must-win.

    Today, he scored a coup, the endorsement of South Carolina representative Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in Congress.

  • Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.:

    I know Joe. We know Joe. But, most importantly, Joe knows us.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    If nothing else, it is intense here, as evidenced last night.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    When the candidates debated in Charleston.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    Tom, I think she was talking about my plan.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Sanders got the front-runner treatment, meaning attacks from all sides.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.:

    As one prominent Democrat once said, we should pay attention to where the voters of this country are, Bernie. That prominent Democrat was Barack Obama.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

    Bernie and I agree on a lot of things, but I think I would make a better president than Bernie.

  • Pete Buttigieg:

    I am not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Donald Trump, with his nostalgia for the social order of the 1950s, and Bernie Sanders, with a nostalgia for the revolutionary politics of the 1960s.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But Sanders was undaunted, using his final statement to push back at the criticism.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    Misconception — and you're hearing it here tonight — is that the ideas I'm talking about are radical. They're not. In one form or another, they exist in countries all over the world.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The candidates also went after the two billionaires on the stage. Senator Elizabeth Warren struck at former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, bringing up a lawsuit alleging he spoke harshly to a pregnant employee worried about balancing her job and her future child.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

    At least I didn't have a boss who said to me, "Kill it," the way that Mayor Bloomberg is alleged to have said…

  • Michael Bloomberg:

    Never said that. Oh, come on.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

    … to one of his pregnant employees.

    People want a chance to hear…

    (BOOING)

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

    People want a chance to hear from the women who have…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Michael Bloomberg:

    I never said that.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Biden and billionaire Tom Steyer faced off over Steyer's past business with private prisons.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    Well, my good friend on the end of this platform, he, in fact, bought a system that was a private prison system, after, after he knew that, in fact, what happened was, they hog-tied young men in prison here in this state.

  • Tom Steyer:

    I have worked to end the use of private prisons in my home state, and we have ended it. I have started a bank to support black ownership of businesses, women ownership of businesses, and Latino owners of businesses, because this financial service industry is prejudiced.

    I have worked tirelessly on this. And you know I'm right.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The raucous debate wasn't all fighting. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota stressed the need for health care and health workers outside of cities.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    We're going to have a million openings for home health care workers, particularly in rural areas, that we don't know how to fill. We're going to have over 100,000 openings for nursing assistants.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    There was also one piece of unity over criticizing the president. Bloomberg slammed the administration's response to concerns about the coronavirus.

  • Michael Bloomberg:

    The president fired the pandemic specialists in this country two years ago, so there's nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing.

  • Man:

    Elizabeth Warren.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    What the candidates and some of their high-profile backers are now doing is sprinting.

    South Carolina Democrats vote in three days, on Saturday.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    For more politics coverage, head to the "NewsHour" Web site.

    That's where you can watch Judy Woodruff at today's Knight Foundation media forum. She led a discussion on democracy in the age of the Internet, featuring Teddy Goff, digital director of President Obama's reelection campaign, and Ory Rinat, the chief digital officer for the Trump administration.

    Plus, tune in tomorrow, when Judy sits down with Michael Bloomberg. That's right here on the "NewsHour."

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