(CSS News) Six Democratic candidates on the debate stage tried to stop the momentum of the seventh, frontrunner Bernie Sanders, hitting him hard on the cost of his proposals, his record on guns and his recent comments about Fidel Castro on “60 Minutes.” Even Sanders joked about the attacks, noting, “I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight. I wonder why.”
But almost no candidate was unscathed in the fiery Democratic debate, which took place just four days before the pivotal South Carolina primary and a week ahead of Super Tuesday.
Michael Bloomberg took fire about his record as mayor of New York City, the women who signed nondisclosure agreements at his company, and his past support for Republicans.
Pete Buttigieg was again asked about his billionaire backers and Joe Biden went after Tom Steyer — as Steyer has been creeping up in the polls in South Carolina.
Amid the sharp jabs and fighting, Amy Klobuchar warned “if we spend the next four months tearing our party apart, we’re going to watch Donald Trump spend the next four years tearing our country apart.”
Foreign policy was the most discussed topic in this debate, with over 25 minutes dedicated to it. Electability was discussed for over 22 minutes, followed by healthcare at 16 minutes and gun control at 7 minutes.
The question for Biden will be whether he can hold on to his now-slim lead in South Carolina, having seen it shrink from 28 points at its high point in the fall.
According to the CBS News Battleground Tracker on February 23, Steyer has rocketed to third place in the state with 18%, followed by Warren with 12%.
Pete Buttigieg, who finished with the most delegates in Iowa and second in New Hampshire, is also hoping to place high here after finishing third in Nevada. But he was polling fifth in the state attracting just 10% support.