Biden warned, though, that tough weeks of campaigning are ahead. “I know I’m going to get a lot of suggestion on how to respond to the increasingly negative campaign that the ‘Bernie Bros’ will run,” he said, referring to the pejorative used to describe some of Sanders’ most outspoken supporters on social media. But, Biden said, “what we can’t let happen is let this primary become a negative bloodbath.”
Michigan is perhaps the biggest test next Tuesday. Sanders narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Michigan primary, an outcome that helped him continue pressuring the eventual nominee through the end of the primary calendar in June.
Six states vote next Tuesday: Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is criticizing Joe Biden for supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement more than two decades ago.
Sanders, a Vermont senator, has increasingly gone on the attack against Biden as the once-crowded Democratic presidential primary field has narrowed to a contest between the two of them.
Campaigning in Detroit on Friday, Sanders organized a roundtable with union autoworkers and activists. They blamed NAFTA for the closing of American plants throughout Michigan — often, they said, because U.S. firms shifted their manufacturing to Mexico, where labor was cheaper.
Sanders said he picketed in his native Vermont against NAFTA, which took effect in 1994. Biden was a senator from Delaware then.
The roundtable participants also blamed NAFTA for driving down the wages of workers in plants that haven’t closed, devastating the economies of communities across Michigan.
The Trump administration negotiated a new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada that Sanders also opposed.
Michigan is one of six states voting Tuesday. Polls suggest a tight race between Sanders and Biden.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are backing Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The endorsements announced Friday add to the list of top Illinois politicians supporting the former vice president ahead of the state’s March 17 primary.
Durbin and Lightfoot announced their endorsement alongside Jill Biden and several members of Congress who have already endorsed the former vice president. Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth also is supporting Biden.
Biden has been racking up endorsements since his commanding win in South Carolina last weekend and a strong Super Tuesday showing. He’s now in a fight for the nomination with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will hold a rally Saturday in Chicago’s Grant Park. Sanders has been endorsed by Illinois Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Lightfoot, who has tussled with President Donald Trump, said Biden “will make Chicago a partner and not an adversary.”
Durbin is the Senate Democratic whip, while Lightfoot is Chicago’s first black female mayor.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire who was one of the top fundraisers for Hillary Clinton in 2016, has not yet endorsed in the primary.
Moderate Democrats are continuing to coalesce around Joe Biden following his strong performance in Super Tuesday primaries, which reset the 2020 Democratic race as a two-man contest between Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Biden’s campaign announced Friday he had secured backing from Maggie Hassan, a first-term New Hampshire senator and former governor, who did not make an endorsement before her state’s early primary. In a statement, Hassan said she voted for Biden, who she said has “the experience and character to lead our country forward.”
Former presidential hopeful John Delaney also released a statement reiterating his Super Tuesday endorsement of Biden, praising his commitment to “progress through pragmatism.”
Biden’s campaign says more than 50 elected officials and community leaders have signed on to support his bid since Super Tuesday, in which Biden won the majority of states over Sanders.