Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., Feb 7, 2020.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Seven Democrats vying to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020 appeared on the Manchester, New Hampshire, debate stage Friday night, just days before that state’s crucial primary election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden admitted early in the debate that he expects to take a hit in the upcoming New Hampshire primary after his poor performance in the Iowa caucus.
“I took a hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take a hit here,” he said on the debate stage in Manchester.
Biden came in fourth place in the first nominating contest, a devastating blow to his campaign.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg took home the top prizes in Iowa, appearing to be nearly tied for first place.
Still, Biden promised to stay in the fight. “I always knew that the first four encounters — two primaries, two caucuses” would be a starting point, he said. Biden claimed that he is the candidate who has the best chance to unseat Trump in November.
Biden said that Trump “wants very much to stick a label on every candidate.” Biden said Sanders has already labeled himself a democratic socialist. “That’s the label Trump will use,” Biden said.
In response, Sanders called Trump a liar, saying that his comments should not matter to anybody on the stage.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in the presidential primary debate in the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College on February 07, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
“Donald Trump lies all the time,” he said. “And he will say terrible things about everybody up here.”
In an NBC News/Marist poll of New Hampshire voters released Friday, Biden came in fourth behind Sanders, Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 13%, potentially indicating another disappointing result for the man who was considered the Democratic front-runner for much of the cycle.
Regarding Buttigieg, who has been surging in the polls since his strong showing in Iowa, Biden called him “a great guy and a real patriot.”
But he added, “He’s the mayor of a small city who has done some good things.” Still, he said, he has not demonstrated the ability to take on the role of president.
Buttigieg pointed to his character and touted a different kind of experience. “I’m someone who knows how to get things done and lead the free world at the same time,” he said. “We cannot solve the problems before us by looking back.”
“This moment is different,” he said.