Biden attacks Sanders at debate over Obama primary

Biden attacks Sanders at debate over Obama primary
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFighting a virus with the wrong tools Trump bucks business on Defense Production Act Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing MORE quickly tore into Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Overnight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders pushes on in 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.) at the Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, accusing the senator of plotting a 2012 primary challenge against then-President Obama.

“He thought we should primary Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCivil rights leader Joseph Lowery dies at 98 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - House to pass relief bill; Trump moves to get US back to work Obama thanks Fauci, Stephen Curry during Instagram Live session MORE,” Biden said minutes after the debate began. 

Biden’s accusation, as well as a subsequent attack over Sanders’s past opposition to gun control legislation, came just days before the South Carolina primary and appeared geared toward many of the black voters who will play an integral role in deciding the winner in the state.

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Among the attacks levied by Biden was that Sanders voted “five times against the Brady Bill,” a 1994 measure that mandated background checks for firearm purchases and implemented a five-day waiting period on such purchases.

Indeed, Sanders has had a mixed record on gun-related legislation. For instance, he once voted against a measure allowing lawsuits against firearm manufacturers.

Sanders, the nominal front-runner in the Democratic nominating contest, fired back against Biden on Tuesday, suggesting that Biden’s attack and those of other candidates were due to the senator's recent victories in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses.

“I’ve been hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight,” Sanders said. “I wonder why.”

Biden this week released an ad in South Carolina accusing Sanders of not supporting Obama in 2012.

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Sanders denied the allegation that he planned to challenge Obama while speaking at a CNN town hall on Monday.

"I did not give any consideration to running for president of the United States until 2015," he said.

Biden is in need of a win in South Carolina, the fourth state to hold its nominating contest and the first in which black voters make up a majority of the Democratic electorate. The former vice president has so far struggled with worse-than-expected performances in the primary race and has seen his front-runner status fade in recent weeks, as Sanders has taken the lead.

After months of holding double-digit leads in South Carolina, recent polls show an increasingly close race in the state. One NBC News-Marist survey released this week showed Biden leading Sanders by only a single point.