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Biden’s South Carolina ‘firewall’ fizzles as Bernie inches closer

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Whether he remembers or not, former Vice President considered South Carolina to be his “firewall” in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, but it remains to be seen if that firewall will weather the Bernie storm.

The South Carolina primary coming up this Saturday will be critical to Biden’s White House bid in that if he wins it will breathe some sorely needed life into his campaign, and if he loses it may spell its end.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has the wind at his back after the self-avowed socialist emerged as the clear front-runner after a big win in Nevada over the weekend, and Biden was in South Carolina on Monday participating in what was billed as the final College of Charleston “Bully Pulpit Series” event.

However, according to a photo shared online, the venue wasn’t exactly bursting at the seams, as the room appears to be sparsely populated.

Biden finished a distant second to Sanders in Nevada, after coming in a fifth in New Hampshire, and the first sign of a flagging presidential campaign is when a candidate talks about coming back.

Which is just what Biden did while talking with supporters in Las Vegas on Saturday evening.

“We’re alive, and we’re coming back, and we’re gonna win,” he said, according to USA Today. “I think we’re in a position now to move on in a way that we haven’t been until this moment. I think we’re going to go, we’re going to win in South Carolina and then Super Tuesday, and we are on our way.”

Polling had Biden with a double digit lead in South Carolina a few short months ago, but that lead is now well within the margin of error, as a new NBC News/Marist poll shows that lead at just 4 points.

Biden is counting on a strong showing among black voters in South Carolina, and to appeal to that demographic the candidate recently began spinning yarns about being arrested in the 1970s trying to visit Nelson Mandela in a South African prison — only to have the New York Times dismantle the claim.

According to Biden, he was arrested with Andrew Young, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1977 to 1979.

The newspaper contacted Young via telephone and he said, “No, I was never arrested and I don’t think he was, either.”

The NBC survey has Biden with 35 percent support among African American voters, with Sanders coming in second with 20 percent support.

Billionaire Tom Steyer has reportedly spent $20 million on TV and radio ads in South Carolina, which Biden suggested was impacting his support among black voters.

“I think a lot’s happening in terms of the amount of money being spent by billionaires to try to cut into the African American vote,” Biden said, according to The Hill.

Back to the “firewall” assertion, even CNN took to mocking Biden for suggesting that he never used that term, as the network played a clip of him doing just that.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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