Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Biden skips visit to South Carolina for presidential primary, stops in L.A. instead


South Carolina held the first official Democratic presidential primary on Saturday. But when the polls closed, President Biden was 2,400 miles away in Los Angeles, getting off Air Force One.

Biden’s victory in the Palmetto State was a foregone conclusion, and his campaign invested a lot of time there before the primaries.

So Biden headed west. He and First Lady Jill Biden landed at LAX on Saturday around 3:30 p.m. and were greeted by Sen. Alex Padilla and Rep. Maxine Waters before the president flew to Santa Monica Airport and his wife left separately for an event.

They held no public events and no fundraising took place.

Biden held a campaign meeting Saturday afternoon at a historic Bel-Air estate owned by director George Lucas. Jill Biden spoke Saturday night at a gala at Paramount Studios in Hollywood to support a nonprofit organization that asks retailers to dedicate 15% of their sales space to Black-owned brands.

On Sunday, Biden spent 90 minutes at the Ivy restaurant with his son Hunter and grandson Beau. Hunter Biden lives in Malibu and Sunday was his 54th birthday. He is a favorite target of Republican critics of the president and faces federal tax charges.

The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Predictably, Republicans complained about Biden’s decision not to travel to South Carolina on Saturday, which they said was an offense by the outgoing president.

“It shows how much he cares about coming and how seriously he takes this,” said Abby Zilch, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Republican Party. “He and Kamala have spent the last three months coming to South Carolina, telling South Carolina Democratic voters how grateful they are for their party here and how much South Carolina means to them. Yet, on the day of the first Democratic primary, he traveled the entire country.”

Shortly after Air Force One landed at Los Angeles International Airport, news broke that Biden had easily won the South Carolina primary.

The state saved its 2020 presidential campaign after it was defeated in Iowa and New Hampshire and finished a distant second in Nevada. The endorsement of Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) and enthusiastic support from the state’s Black voters gave Biden a landslide victory and added momentum heading into the Super Tuesday primaries, which been essential for him to become the Democratic candidate.

In return, the Democratic National Committee, at Biden’s request, reshuffled the 2024 nomination schedule, making South Carolina the first state to hold a party-recognized primary. The move was apparently intended to give a greater voice to diverse voters in the early stages of the race, compared to the caucuses and primaries in majority-white Iowa and New Hampshire; it was widely seen as a gift to South Carolina for saving Biden’s 2020 campaign.

The president, Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democrats, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, have spent significant time in South Carolina promoting the Biden campaign.

On Friday, Harris spoke with supporters at South Carolina State University, a historically black university. After a melody played, Harris was introduced by the reigning Miss South Carolina and touted the administration’s efforts to cancel student debt, cap insulin costs and stimulate the economy.

“President Biden and I are guided by a fundamental belief: We work for you, the American people. And every day we fight for you,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone. Concrete example: Donald Trump. Former President Trump has made it clear time and time again: his fight is not for the people. He fights for himself.

Scott Huffmon, a political science professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, noted the frequency of visits by Democrats and their surrogates, including second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who visited his home county. originally Friday.

“It’s a reward for what South Carolina did for Joe Biden, but on a larger scale, South Carolina is so incredibly important to the national Democratic presidential process that it’s extremely important to maintain that close relationship and warm,” Huffmon said.

He added that he doesn’t think most Democrats in the Palmetto State would have a problem with Biden spending primary night in Los Angeles, given South Carolina’s rightward tilt in the election general. Trump easily won the state in the 2020 presidential election. The last time a Democrat won a general election was in 1976, and the candidate was fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter.

“He paid for his loyalty. He has done his bows and bows, and now realism sets in. He’s not going to win South Carolina in November,” Huffmon said. “The repayment of the debt has therefore taken place. Now reality is setting in.

Indeed, on Sunday, Biden traveled to campaign events in Nevada, where his Democratic primaries are taking place on Tuesday and which are key to his bid for re-election in November.



Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from www.latimes.com

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