ORLANDO, Fla. – Democratic candidates will take the stage in South Carolina Tuesday night, but before they make their case for the White House Face The Nation moderator Margaret Brennan weighs in on what to expect.
The CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent spoke with News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth live on News 6 at Nine after interviewing former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
“South Carolina is Joe Biden’s firewall. That is the backstop to end the slide. He is betting in particular that the largest part of the Democratic electorate in the state, African Americans, will show up,” Brennan said in an interview on News 6 at Nine. “They make up 60% of the democratic electorate. You have heard him time and again in this state talk about his record serving as Barack Obama’s vice president making the argument that he is the safest pick versus a democratic socialist like Bernie Sanders who is the frontrunner and that he will restore the U.S. to what he describes as sort of the height of policy with Barack Obama. The question is -- is that the direction the country and voters here want to go in?”
Brennan also explained how Tom Steyer earned a spot behind a podium as he’s polling well in South Carolina, its own win as seven democratic candidates will debate right before the state’s primary.
“Tom Steyer, the billionaire who remains in this race has been spending quite a lot of money here in this state, about $20 million on ads. He has outspent and out staffed Joe Biden here and is eating away at some of his support among African American voters,” she said.
The journalist said Tuesday’s debate will be a driving force for the rest of the democratic campaign and a pivotal point in the presidential election.
“The big headline will be survival and momentum. Does Joe Biden show he will not just survive but become the most electable and most viable candidate -- regain the frontrunner status he went into these primaries with and can Bernie Sanders again pull off a night where he shows that he can excite progressives to show up at the ballot box on Saturday here in this state and keep that momentum going through Super Tuesday?” she said. “Michael Bloomberg has also spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ads in states other than South Carolina to focus on Super Tuesday. He has to show that that money is going to be backed up with a stronger debate performance than what he gave just last week.”
Brennan will be joining Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King later Tuesday evening in the questioning during the 10th Democratic presidential debate in Charleston. CBS News is co-hosting the debate with Congressional Black Caucus Institute.
News 6 Erik Von Ancken will also provide live coverage from the debate.
This is the last debate before the crucial South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday when more than a dozen critical contests will be decided.
People can watch the debate live on News 6 starting at 8 p.m.