CHARLESTON, S.C. — Biden took the stage to the longest ovation of any candidate at the First in the South Dinner, and supporters waved signs in his direction. He nodded at several local officials, including Jaime Harrison, who is running against Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) here.
“Jaime, I’ll come campaign for you or against you, whichever will help you the most,” Biden said.
He also addressed rumors that he has been speaking to Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) about a potential endorsement.
“Yesterday, a reporter asked me if I’ve been speaking to Jim Clyburn,” Biden said. “Every day for the last eight years I’ve been speaking to Jim Clyburn.”
Interestingly, when South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson introduced Biden, he did so by saying Biden was the only man to eulogize two U.S. senators from the state. Biden spoke at the funerals of Fritz Hollings (D) and Strom Thurmond (R). The latter supported segregation, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) criticized Biden for those ties in a debate over the summer.
Biden’s remarks were briefer than those of his fellow candidates, including his usual urging for Democrats to “stop walking around with our heads down.”
Buttigieg opened his remarks campaigning for Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), who won his underdog race in 2018 and appears vulnerable in 2020. “I have a soft spot for long-shot bids,” Buttigieg said. He then launched into what appears to be his revamped stump speech, tailored to the majority-black Democratic electorate here, which polls suggest is skeptical of him.
He also re-upped his attacks on Sanders, who seems likely to be the former South Bend, Ind., mayor’s primary target in the debate Tuesday night.
Robertson introduced Warren as the person who showed everyone “how to win a televised debate.”
Warren delivered her usual remarks, arguing for her 2-cent wealth tax and leaning into her role as “a fighter.”
“It’s true, I’ve got plans. I’ve got a lot of plans. But they all rest on building an America of true justice,” Warren said. “An America where every voice is heard. I will fight for that America.”
When Klobuchar took the stage, she talked about the need for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision, which concerned campaign financing. As she did so, the house lights in the banquet room suddenly gleamed brighter — an accident, seemingly.
“That was for the constitutional amendment,” Klobuchar quipped.