What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

After South Carolina winnows Democratic field, candidates prepare for Super Tuesday

It's been a dramatic 48 hours since the polls closed in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Three candidates have left the race: businessman Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The few that remain, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Michael Bloomberg, are looking to consolidate support before 14 states vote on Super Tuesday. Judy Woodruff reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It has been a dramatic 48 hours since the polls closed in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday evening.

    Three presidential candidates have now left the race. And the few that remain are scrambling to maximize their support before 14 states vote tomorrow.

    With only hours left before Super Tuesday's primaries, the Democratic presidential field winnowed even further. Exiting this time, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. She flew to Dallas to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden tonight. It was the latest in a string of departures since Biden's big win in South Carolina on Saturday.

    First to go was billionaire activist Tom Steyer, a distant third in South Carolina.

  • Tom Steyer:

    But I said, if I didn't see a path to winning, that I'd suspend my campaign.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Pete Buttigieg placed fourth in South Carolina. He withdrew last night in South Bend, Indiana, where he had been mayor.

  • Pete Buttigieg:

    The truth is that the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy, if not for our cause. And another of those values is responsibility. And we have a responsibility to consider the effect of remaining in this race any further.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It was reported Buttigieg will also be in Dallas to tonight to endorse Biden.

    Awash in good news, the former vice president campaigned in Houston. The "NewsHour"'s Dan Bush reports, Biden is working to build on his South Carolina showing, and the candidate sounded upbeat today.

  • Joe Biden:

    Just a few days ago, the pundits declared my campaign dead.

    (LAUGHTER)

    But then along came South Carolina! And South Carolina had something to say about it.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    As I stand here today because of the minority communities, I am very much alive because of you.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Biden spent the weekend casting himself as the leading moderate alternative to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist.

  • Joe Biden:

    This is no secret to anybody. You can't run as an independent socialist, now a Democratic socialist, and to particularly — expect to do very well in states we have to win.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But Sanders fired back on Sunday.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:

    Joe Biden is a friend of mine.

    (LAUGHTER)

    No, no, no, no, no. But here is the point, that we have got to be honest about this. We have got to be honest and say which campaign can beat Trump.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Sanders is looking for a large delegate haul tomorrow in California, the state with the biggest prize, and one where he is polling strongly.

    It's one of 14 states voting Tuesday, putting more than a third of all Democratic delegates up for grabs. Candidates also have an eye on Texas, another state with a large delegate count. And southern states may also be key battlegrounds.

    In Virginia, on Saturday, as some headed to the polls for early voting, others at a nearby farmers market told me they still felt undecided.

  • Michael Connelly:

    The way I look at it, you have got a lot of B's in this equation. Bernie has the base. Biden has the experience. Bloomberg has the bucks. The question is, of those three, what shakes out to be the best path forward in November?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Electability was also key for some who showed up at a campaign event in Northern Virginia for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

  • David Edelman:

    Some of the candidates I liked at the beginning of the race have now dropped out, and I'm really trying to search the field and find out who it is, OK? Who can really beat Donald Trump?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Bloomberg insists he is the candidate to beat the president. He appears on primary ballots for the first time tomorrow.

  • Michael Bloomberg:

    Let's make sure that, on Tuesday, he hears from us even louder and clearer.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The other major candidate still in the field, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, also appeared undeterred.

    A spokesman vowed that she will stay in the race until the Democratic Convention this summer.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest