The Latest: Sanders says he is stronger candidate than Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Democratic presidential primary contest (all times EST):

6:45 p.m.

Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden is “a friend” but that it’s time to be honest about which of the two can beat President Donald Trump.

The mention of Biden’s name caused boos among a crowd of Sanders’ supporters at a rally in San Jose, California. Sanders told the crowd “nope,” as a way of rejecting the boos, then went on to detail what he called bad votes by Biden over the years.

His remarks come a day after Biden’s decisive victory in South Carolina’s primary, which may help his campaign rebound. Though he relied largely on contrasts he’s made with Biden in the past.

Sanders says Trump would run ads pointing out Biden’s support for bad trade deals and past support for efforts that could have frozen Social Security and Medicare. He also reminded the crowd of Biden’s vote for the Iraq war.

Sanders is holding two rallies in California on Sunday. The state votes Tuesday and offers the most delegates of any state, at 415.


2:45 p.m.

Mike Bloomberg found a rough reception to his remarks at a “Bloody Sunday” memorial service at a church in Selma, Alabama.

The pastor who introduced him noted the mayor initially declined an invitation to visit the church before eventually agreeing to come to the event, and praised Bloomberg for changing his mind. Bloomberg took the stage and said that, after campaigning in dozens of cities, “I have tried to listen and I have tried to learn.” He added: “I didn’t agree with everything I heard, but I certainly gave people the opportunity to change my mind.”

The former New York mayor focused his remarks on injustices faced by the black community and his policies to address racial inequality. But near the end of his speech nearly a dozen people stood up and turned their backs to him.

Bloomberg has faced sharp criticism from his opponents and some activists over his use of stop-and-frisk policing tactics while mayor, as well as his racially charged comments justifying the practice. He launched his campaign with an apology of his use of stop-and-frisk, and has released a handful of policies aimed at eliminating the racial wealth gap and reforming the criminal justice system.

He has not competed in any of the early primary states and has yet to prove his appeal among black voters. He will be on the ballot for the first time on Tuesday.


12:35 p.m.

Bernie Sanders’ delegate lead over Joe Biden has shrunk from 30 to 8 after Biden’s big win in the South Carolina primary.

With 54 delegates at stake in South Carolina, Biden has picked up 35 to Sanders’ 13. That’s according to the AP delegate count. Six delegates remain to be allocated pending final vote totals.

Heading into key Super Tuesday contests, Sanders leads the overall race for delegates with 58 while Biden has 50. Pete Buttigieg has 26 delegates, Elizabeth Warren has 8 and Amy Klobuchar has 7.

More than one-third of the total delegates needed to win the nomination are at stake on Tuesday.

It takes 1,991 delegates to win.


12:05 p.m.

Elizabeth Warren wants to use stricter federal regulations to discourage the nation’s largest banks and asset managers from making investments that exacerbate climate change.

The Massachusetts senator finished a disappointing fifth in Saturday’s South Carolina primary but unveiled a detailed plan Sunday titled “Stop Wall Street from Financing the Climate Crisis.” In it, she warns that investments in the fossil fuel industry that are now common throughout the financial sector could abruptly lose value if the U.S. transitions to a “clean” economy — posing risks of destabilization.

To combat that, she plans to use the Financial Stability Oversight Council and other regulatory bodies to require higher capitalization standards on financial institutions based on their climate-related risks, while mandating that they report annually how much fossil fuel equity and debt is created or held as assets.

Warren also would seek to strengthen federal rules to make it harder for pension fund and other asset managers to invest in carbon-intensive ventures, and require banks and other financial firms to employ more climate change experts on their boards of directors.


11:30 a.m.

Joe Biden says he has no plans to pressure other Democratic presidential candidates to drop out of the race to try to consolidate the vote against progressive favorite Bernie Sanders.

He tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that “everyone knows” it will be more difficult for Democrats to win back the Senate and maintain control of the House if Sanders is at “the top of the ticket,” but it’s up to the candidates to decide.

The former vice president won the South Carolina primary by a huge margin Saturday, but polls suggest Sanders could still have an advantage in several large Super Tuesday states because candidates including billionaire Mike Bloomberg, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar remain in the race.

Biden acknowledged the possibility of a contested first ballot at the Democratic convention. He confirmed that he’d still seek the nomination even if he went into the convention trailing Sanders in pledged delegates.

Sanders has argued that the plurality delegate leader should become the nominee. Sanders, Biden noted, didn’t take that position in 2016, when he urged so-called “superdelegates” to hand him the nomination despite Hillary Clinton winning 4 million more primary votes and securing more pledged delegates.