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Biden and Sanders prepare for 1st head-to-head primaries

Voters in six more states will head to the polls Tuesday in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary -- which is now essentially a two-man race between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Michigan is the largest delegate prize, and Sanders, who won the state four years ago, is trailing Biden in polls there by around 15 points. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As voters in six more states prepare to head to the polls tomorrow, the Democratic presidential campaign entered a new phase this week.

    Lisa Desjardins will have analysis, more analysis, in a moment.

    But we begin with Yamiche Alcindor, who reports on what has become essentially a two-man race.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    In Michigan, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden on a collision course.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:

    We are the campaign that can defeat Trump.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    A state critical in November and where, four years ago, Sanders nearly won the Democratic primary.

    But a new Monmouth University poll out today shows Biden with a 15-point lead in the state. On Tuesday, with 125 delegates at stake, Michigan is the biggest prize.

    But five other states head to the polls, and, altogether, there are more than 350 delegates up for grabs. With the campaign down to two main candidates, both spent the past few days drawing distinctions on key issues for the Democratic base, like health care, the focus for Biden during a visit to a medical facility in Grand Rapids today.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    Senator Sanders is a good man. His Medicare for all push would be a long and expensive slog, if we can it get done at all.

    And the patients at Cherry Hill, they can't afford to wait for a revolution. They're looking for results in their families and for themselves today, immediately, not tomorrow.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    While, during a rally in Missouri, Sanders defended his plan.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    We are prepared, uniquely, in this campaign to take on a health care industry that last year made $100 billion in profit.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Both campaigns have also rolled out big endorsements, the Vermont senator campaigning with civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson.

  • Jesse Jackson:

    Bernie Sanders can win, will win, must win.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The Sanders campaign is hoping Jackson's support can help cut into Biden's commanding lead among black voters.

    Meanwhile, the vice president gained the support of two more former rivals, Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. His total endorsements from the 2020 field up is now up to 10.

  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.:

    Stand with me now for Joe Biden!

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Monday night in Detroit, Harris and Booker are set to campaign with Biden.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    If you want a nominee who's going to bring this party together.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Biden's supporters hope his appeal for unity will help him secure the nomination.

  • Hannah Hockman:

    I just feel like he has a better chance of beating Trump than Bernie because he's more, like, moderate as a Democrat.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    While Sanders continues his call for a political revolution. It's an appeal resonating with his most ardent supporters.

  • Man:

    We need a radical change after this — four years of this mess. And we're here for Bernie. We need somebody that's going to lift our spirits, make sure that we prosper on. We definitely need change. We need change.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Sanders is counting on his high support among younger voters. But, so far, they have failed to show up in overwhelming numbers.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    And we have got to tell those people, stop complaining. Get involved in the political process.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    By the end of Tuesday, both candidates will have a clearer idea of their path forward, with nearly half of all delegates awarded.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

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