The Latest: Trump polls rally crowd on who’s easier to beat

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The Latest on the Democratic presidential primary contest (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump has asked the crowd at his rally in South Carolina whether Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden would make a better Democratic opponent for him.

Trump held the rally in North Charleston on Friday, a day before the state’s Democratic presidential primary. Sanders is the front-runner in the race but is considered a risky choice by some because he identifies as a democratic socialist. Biden is a moderate who won accolades as President Barack Obama’s vice president, but he doesn’t garner the same level of excitement as Sanders does.

The rally crowd relished Trump’s asking them to participate in the poll. More in the crowd shouted “Bernie!” and booed the mention of Biden than the other way around.

Trump agreed, saying, “I think Bernie’s easier to beat.”

Some state GOP leaders have urged Republican voters to participate in Saturday’s Democratic primary and vote for Sanders.

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8 p.m.

On the eve of the South Carolina presidential primary, Joe Biden is telling voters that America has a chance to “change the economy in a big way, without being socialist” and “without having a revolution.”

Friday’s remarks were a broadside at Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist with sweeping proposals on health care and tuition-free college.

Biden is looking to the Saturday primary for his first victory of Democrats’ 2020 nominating fight. Sanders led voting in the first contests, animating the party’s left flank while a gaggle of rivals split the rest of the vote.

The former vice president has stepped up his warnings that nominating Sanders would be too risky for the party. Biden argues that Sanders’ policies are impractical and impossible to get through Congress.

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4:45 p.m.

California’s first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom has endorsed Elizabeth Warren just days before the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

Her husband, Gov. Gavin Newsom, hasn’t backed another candidate since fellow Californian Kamala Harris exited the race.

Siebel Newsom said in a Friday statement that “women need a champion in the White House” who will stand up for women, protect reproductive rights and lift up marginalized voices.

Siebel Newsom is a documentary filmmaker focused on gender equity. She’s chosen the “first partner” moniker instead of the traditional “first lady” because it’s gender neutral.

California is one of 14 states to hold its primary on Tuesday. Warren plans to campaign in the state on Monday night.

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12:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has canceled a campaign stop with small-town mayors in South Carolina that some of the invited mayors were unable to attend.

Fairfax Mayor Dorothy Riley said she showed up for Friday’s event in her town because she didn’t know it was canceled. The event was aimed at discussing small-town concerns in South Carolina’s rural black communities and planned for a soul food restaurant in her town in the western part of the state.

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s campaign sent a news release three hours before the scheduled start time advising that he had canceled the event because of “scheduling constraints.”

Some campaign aides said privately that some of the invited mayors declined to attend after South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the highest-ranking black member of Congress, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal scheduling matters.

Buttigieg’s national communications director Chris Meagher disputed the assertion.

– By Thomas Beaumont

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11:15 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is announcing his support for Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary, a show of support from a former vice presidential nominee ahead of next week’s Super Tuesday contests.

In a release Friday, Kaine calls Biden a man of “exemplary heart, character, and experience” who reminds him of “Harry S. Truman, an outwardly ordinary man whose work ethic, faith in the goodness of everyday Americans, and love of country made him a great President.”

Kaine stood as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election. His backing comes a day before South Carolina’s primary, in which Biden needs a strong showing going into next week’s vote, in which a massive haul of delegates is at stake.

Biden has led surveys in South Carolina, where Saturday’s contest could be his first primary victory in three runs at the White House.

President Donald Trump speak at a campaign rally, Friday Feb. 28, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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