Democratic candidates continue push in South Carolina

Democratic presidential hopefuls continued their push in South Carolina on Saturday, the day after 21 candidates pitched themselves at Jim Clyburn’s World Famous Fish Fry. Sen. Kamala Harris of California charged straight at Mr. Trump as she addressed hundreds of activists at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention.

“We need somebody on our stage when it comes for that general election, who knows how to recognize a rap sheet when they see it and prosecute the case,” Harris said, playing off her experience as a state and local prosecutor as she shredded Mr. Trump on a litany of policy fronts.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts pitched her progressive policies as an agenda with wide reach. “People across this nation understand it is time for big, structural change in America. The time for small ideas is over,” Warren said, adding the approach can draw in Democrats and Republicans.”

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, meanwhile, pushed back at a centrist Democratic group, “Third Way,” and some of its members’ assertions that his democratic socialism is an “existential threat” to the party’s 2020 hopes.

Sanders countered that his left-flank agenda can win the White House. “We defeat Trump by running a campaign of energy and enthusiasm that substantially grows voter turnout … in a way we have never seen,” he said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke later Saturday at both the convention and a forum hosted by Planned Parenthood. During his speech at the forum, Biden somewhat address controversy over prior remarks about the Hyde Amendment. After initially coming out in favor of the legislation, which generally bars federal funds from being used for abortions, Biden made an about-face.

In South Carolina on Saturday, Biden reiterated his stance against the Hyde Amendment.

Former Vice President, Joe Biden, adresses the audience at the We Decide: Planned Parenthood Action Fund 2020 Election Forum to Focus on Abortion and Reproductive Rights event in Columbia, SC on June, 22 2019. – Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images) Logan Cyrus / AFP/Getty Images

“It became really clear to me that although the Hyde Amendment was designed to try to split the difference here to make sure women still had access, you can’t have access if in fact everyone is covered by a federal policy,” Biden said. “And so, that’s why, at the same time I announced that policy, I announced that I can no longer continue to abide by the Hyde Amendment.”

South Carolina boasts the largest electorate of the four early nominating states and its mix of black voters and moderate whites gives candidates a proving ground ahead of a Super Tuesday slate that includes other similar Southern states and hundreds of delegates at stake.

Biden has led national Democratic polls since he announced his bid in April. He has shown particular strength in South Carolina, where he has deep relationships from previous presidential runs, friendships with two of state’s towering former senators and, perhaps most important in 2020, his eight years President Obama’s vice president.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, made his first appearance of the weekend on Saturday, a white politician whose relationships with black constituents are in the spotlight. Buttigieg had canceled his Friday plans in South Carolina to remain at home after a South Bend police officer shot and killed black man last weekend.

“We will heal and we will become stronger in the broken places,” Buttigieg promised on the morning after he was confronted by protesters in his hometown.

Buttigieg later promised massive investments in the black community on the scale of the Marshall Plan in post-World War II Europe.

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