The rest of the Democratic field seemed to finally realize who they’re chasing for the nomination Tuesday night.
Most of the Democrats onstage at Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina leveled their opening salvos at Sen. Bernie Sanders, slamming him for being dangerously to the left on economic issues, a risk to reelect President Trump and a johnny-come-lately on gun control.
The hits began with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who fired back at a Sanders shot by pointing out Russia was meddling in the primary to boost Sanders.
“Vladimir Putin thinks Donald Trump should be president of the United States and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you lose to him,” he said.
He was followed by Elizabeth Warren, who has largely avoided criticizing her progressive pal throughout the race. She declined to slam Sanders’ views — but went after him for being ineffectual and for some of his supporters’ vitriolic approach to politics.
“Bernie and I agree on a lot of things but I think I would make a better president than Bernie and the reason for the that is getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard and it’s going to take someone who digs into the details to make it happen,” she said. “Bernie and I both want to see universal health care, but Bernie's plan doesn't explain how to get there doesn't show how we're going to get enough allies into it and doesn't show about how we pay for it. I dug in, I did the work and then Bernie’s team trashed me for it.”
Billionaire Tom Steyer got in on the action as well.
“Bernie Sanders analysis is right,” he said. “The difference is I don't like his solutions. I don't believe that a government takeover of large parts of the economy, makes any sense for working people or for families.”
But the harshest hit came from Joe Biden, who showed some notable fire early in the debate as he flayed Sanders for repeatedly voting against a comprehensive gun control bill that created a waiting period for firearms purchases — and linked it to the racist massacre that happened in Charleston just a few years ago.
“Walking distance from here is Mother Emanuel Church. Nine people shot dead by white supremacist. Bernie voted five times against the Brady Bill and wanted a waiting period of twelve hours. I’m not saying he’s responsible for the nine deaths but that man would not have been able to get that weapon if the waiting period had been what I suggested,” he said.
Biden then turned to slam Sanders for contemplating a primary challenge to President Obama in 2012.
“I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight. I wonder why,” Sanders responded with a wry grin.
Cover: Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders participates in the tenth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 25, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)