Before SC Dem primary, Biden thanks voters who propelled him to White House 4 years ago
President Joe Biden joined South Carolina Democrats Friday, Jan. 27, 2024, for a first-in-the-nation dinner fundraiser in Columbia, S.C.
A week out from the South Carolina Democratic primary, President Joe Biden on Saturday called on a crowd of loyal supporters to mobilize, organize and vote Feb. 3.
That's exactly what Columbia elementary school teacher Vivian Hernandez, 77, said she plans to do.
“It’s very important, because you know the legacy of making sure women can vote, and making sure Black (voters) can vote," said Hernandez, who the day prior went to hear first lady Jill Biden speak.
Biden returned to South Carolina for the second time this month to give the keynote speech at the state Democratic Party's "First-in-the-Nation Dinner." Earlier this month, he spoke at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the site of the 2015 racist mass shooting.
The president's trip back to the state he’s poised to win next month against two longshot candidates — Rep. Dean Phillips, who spoke at the dinner, and Marianne Williamson — was as much an effort to energize the party’s core base of Black voters as it was to say thank you to the state that delivered a win four years ago.
"The truth is, I wouldn't be here without the Democratic voters of South Carolina, and that's a fact," Biden said. "... From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you."
South Carolina voters, Biden said, are the reason he's president and the reason Kamala Harris is vice president.
"And you're the reason Donald Trump is a defeated former president," Biden said to applause. "You're the reason Donald Trump is a loser. And you're the reason we're going to win and beat him again."
Sixty-four-year-old Clifton Blanchett, visiting from Arkansas, said he doesn’t buy the headlines that Biden’s Black support is slipping.
“Where is it going to slip to? He’s been the most positive president for us, how could it slip?” Blanchett said.
Blanchett, a preacher, says he plans to spread Biden’s message when he gets back, from the pulpit and his podcast.
Biden spoke for more than 20 minutes Saturday from the Fairgrounds in Columbia.
In his remarks, he praised ally South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, detailed what he said his administration has accomplished since 2020 — Biden often said the phrase, "promises made, promises kept" — and said he would sign a measure to curtail immigration and fix the border.
"A bipartisan bill would be good for America and help fix our broken immigration system and allow speedy access for those who deserve to be here," Biden said. "And Congress needs to get it done."
He also criticized Trump.
Biden, referring to past reporting that Trump called fallen soldiers "suckers and losers," said, "the only loser I see is Donald Trump."
As has become custom at events Biden attends, the president's remarks were interrupted three times by individual protesters, with at least two calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
In response, the crowd loudly chanted, "four more years."