Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Win McNamee | Getty Images
In the first Democratic presidential debate since Sen. Bernie Sanders earned a big target on his back, Democratic candidates jumped into an often chaotic and uncomfortable fray in Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday night.
Sanders, I-Vt., took shots from his rivals early and often after weeks of strong polling and a series of key wins in early nominating states, including a landslide Nevada caucus win on Saturday. But none of the seven candidates emerged from the debate, at times a choppy affair as White House hopefuls interrupted each other and talked over the CBS News moderators, untouched by opponents’ venom.
It was the tenth overall debate, and candidates on stage included Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, billionaire Tom Steyer, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
On the debate stage, candidates tried to direct attention to Sanders, with Bloomberg pointing to the Vermont senator’s vote against the Brady Bill, which mandated the establishment of a background check and stricter gun control measures.
Bloomberg, who took a beating in last week’s Democratic debate, appeared more steady on Tuesday. After a widely panned performance during his first time on stage with his rivals, the billionaire businessman responded to criticism about his record on policing, sexual harassment and donating to Republican political candidates with what seemed like more prepared remarks.
Tensions were high on Tuesday, as candidates used their last chance to sell themselves on a national stage before the crucial South Carolina primary on Saturday. Biden maintained a slight lead in