Biden insists he can still win in contentious CBS interview

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' Democratic strategist says Biden 'has to' get second place in Nevada MORE on Monday insisted he can still win the Democratic presidential nomination, downplaying his campaign’s troubles in Iowa and New Hampshire and highlighting his showing in national polls.

In a contentious interview on "CBS This Morning," Biden acknowledged that he faces an uphill battle in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Tuesday, but said his political fortunes would change once the nominating contest shifts to more diverse states like Nevada and South Carolina.

“Nothing’s going to happen until we get down to a place and around the country where there’s much more diversity. And, you know, you’re always behind the eight ball when you’re running in New Hampshire and you have two people from the neighboring states,” he said, referring to rivals Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Prominent Texas Latina endorses Warren Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg unveils billboards to troll Trump ahead of campaign stops John Legend joining Warren in South Carolina next week: report MORE (D-Mass.). 

No Democratic presidential candidate in recent history has won the party’s nomination without finishing in at least the top two spots in Iowa and New Hampshire.

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Asked by "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil why voters in more diverse states should back him if voters in Iowa and New Hampshire do not, Biden said the electorates in states like Nevada and South Carolina are more representative of the American population as a whole.

“Because the other voters out there represent a significant portion of the American people and they look like America,” Biden said. “That’s the reason why.”

Biden, who entered the presidential race last year as the presumed front-runner and has largely led in national polls for months, suffered a blow in the Iowa caucuses last week when returns showed him finishing in fourth place, behind former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' Buttigieg to join striking South Carolina McDonald's workers next week MORE, Sanders and Warren.

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He later described that finish as a “gut punch.” In New Hampshire, however, his prospects of a top-two finish have grown increasingly dim, with recent polls showing running in third or fourth place.

At a presidential primary debate on Friday, Biden conceded he faced stiff competition in the Granite State.

“I took a hit in Iowa, and I’ll probably take a hit here,” he said on the debate stage in Manchester, N.H.

But Biden has maintained strong support among African-American voters, which could prove helpful in later nominating contests, especially in South Carolina, where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate.

Scant polling in Nevada, which holds its caucuses on Feb. 22, shows Biden running at or near the front of the pack.

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In his CBS interview, Biden defended his campaign’s position in the race, pointing to two recent endorsements — one from the Michigan Democratic Party’s Black Caucus and the other from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a major labor union — and insisting that his campaign was raising a “half a million dollars a day.”

“So I don’t see any diminution in national support,” he said. "I’m still leading nationally. And so the idea that this is a — if you come in third or fourth in the first two primaries, or caucus and a primary, that that knocks you out of the box. We’re just getting going.”

Still, Biden has lagged most of his top rivals in fundraising. His campaign’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission showed him ending 2019 with less than $9 million in the bank. Sanders, by comparison, ended the year with $18.2 million on hand, while Buttigieg and Warren had $14.5 million and $13.7 million, respectively.

Asked by "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason whether his campaign was running low on cash, Biden said it was not.

“No it’s not. At least not until today,” he said. “I hope you guys help it out a little bit here.”