Transcript for 2020 presidential candidates come together in South Carolina
Democratic hopefuls on the campaign trail trying to drum up support in an early primary state. We are now just four day as head of the first democratic debate. 500 days to go before the 2020 election. ABC's white house correspondent Tara Palmeri is in Columbia, South Carolina, with a look at what the candidates are focusing on. Good morning to you, Tara. Reporter: Good morning, Eva. The South Carolina primary is more than 250 days away, but these candidates are all down here at a steaming hot fish fry trying to make the case to African-American voters. That's because the palmetto state is one of the first primaries in the region. There's a whole bunch of candidates going to be coming on this stage. Reporter: Overnight a show of unity. 21 of the 23 democratic candidates on stage together in South Carolina at congressman Jim complyburn's annual fish fry. Whoever the democratic candidate is, we have to stay together and elect a Democrat president of the United States of America. Reporter: A bitter standoff between senator Cory booker and vice president Joe Biden ending with a hug. This after one of the most divisive weeks on the campaign trail. For his posture to be to me, I've done nothing wrong, you should apologize, I'm not a racist is so insulting. Reporter: Biden defiant after booker called on him to apologize for reminiscing about the days of civility in the senate when he worked with segregationists. Are you going to apologize? Apologize for what? Cory booker's called for it. Cory should apologize. He knows better. Reporter: The other candidates vying for Clyburn's endorsement in the early primary state and making the case to black voters and they're not satisfied with Biden's silence. Look, I said very clearly, he needs to apologize. Reporter: Joe Biden hasn't apologized. He should apologize. Should he apologize? Well, I'm going to leave that to him. Would you apologize. Well, I wouldn't say that, so -- What Joe Biden said is very important, which is in order for us to solve the challenges of this country we've got to be able to come together. Reporter: But some voters more concerned about who will beat president trump than anything else. Right now at this point Joe Biden has the best chance at beating Donald Trump. I think Biden is our best chance. I think any of those guys could beat trump. Reporter: Congressman Jim Clyburn is a bit of a kingmaker down here, so his endorsement matters, and he is defending Joe Biden. Now, these candidates have a very busy weekend ahead of them and are speaking at a south Carolina democratic primary event and a planned parenthood Dan. All right, Tara, thank you so much. Let's bring in our ringer, ABC news chief political analyst Matthew dowd who joins us from Texas. Matthew, good morning. Let's start here with Joe Biden. This whole dustup over his comments about working with segregationist senators. Is this likely to be a long-term problem for him, or do you think it's just a blip? Well, I think the longer term problem for Joe Biden is the fact that he got elected first before eight track tape came and went. I mean, that's the problem with Joe Biden. I think he still thinks the words and the actions and the policies of the '70s when he first came there apply today. I think it's not going to politically -- he can deal with this next week. He's got a debate next week. I think he can deal with this next week in the midst of the first debates next week, but I think, as I say, this particular incident isn't necessary a long-term problem. The long-term problem is does he fit the 21st century he's about to face in the electorate? I'm trying to figure out whether I should explain to our younger viewers what an eight track tape is or a beta max. They will them it's long before iPod and downloading. Yes, distinctly analog. Let's stay on this issue of the Democrats running for president. Race as we've seen has been an issue for Biden. It's also now an issue for one of the buzzy young democratic candidates, one of the candidates who may not know what eight tracks are. There's this video that's now surfacing of mayor Pete buttigieg who skipped the campaign events in south Carolina and returned to his home city where he is mayor in South Bend, Indiana, where he was surrounded by angry community members, some of them holding black lives matter there's outrage now in south Bend after the fatal police shooting of a black man. Take a listen. We set up the body camera, right? And then they failed us when we needed them, so if you're saying it's not good enough, you're right. And that was a relatively tame moments. There were other moments where he was being screamed at. There's been talk for awhile buttigieg who has been on a rocket ride actually really needs to make inroads with black voters nationally if he's going to make it. How is this moment likely to play for him? Well, I think -- I've always thought for candidates like Pete buttigieg, the biggest test would not come in the rise but would come when they went through a gauntlet of bad press and I think this is a test of him. The other part I think that's affected, he's only held one political office, and that's mayor of South Bend, Indiana. And he has to demonstrate that one political office he's held he can do well and he can bring the community together. If that frays in that community, then one of the major points that he's running on, which is what he's done in South Bend, Indiana, starts to deteriorate. Again, like Joe Biden, he's going to be in the midst of a debate next week. He's going to have to face these questions in this but as any politician -- as I look at any politician, the hardest part they have is when they go through the gauntlet, and we'll see how mayor Pete survives through the first initial problem he's never had before. The candidates are being tested.
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